Tang Yuan - Glutinous Rice Dumplings in Chicken Soup

Submitted by Amoimoi

Tang Yuan is a rice dumpling made of glutinous rice, served on Dong Zhi, or the Chinese Winter Festival. It can be served with savoury soup, or sweet such as Palm Sugar Tang Yuan in Syrup and Tang Yuan with Ground Peanut in Ginger Syrup; and soupy paste such as Adzuki Bean Soup. This is a traditional savoury Tang Yuan recipe that has been passed down from our great grandmother. Enjoy!


  • 500g white glutinous rice dough (ready-mixed), or see Versatility Note for home-made method
  • Bones from 1 whole chicken, about 500g
  • 200g chicken breast meat, cut into thin slices
  • 80g white dried fungus (see Glossary Page, soaked and cut into bite size
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 5-6 stalks fresh coriander with leaves, to garnish


  1. Put the chicken bones, onion, and sea salt in a large pot; fill it with 3/4 full of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil, cover it and let it simmer on low for about 1 hour.
  3. When the water is simmered down to about half the depth of the pot, remove the bones.
  4. Add in chicken slices and white dried fungus, cover, and cook on medium for another 30 minutes. Turn heat off.
  5. In another large pot, put 1 litre of water to boil.
  6. Separate the glutinous dough into 2-cm portions, and roll them into ball-shaped dumplings between your palms.
  7. Place these dumplings into the boiling water. Let it boil till the dumplings float to the surface. Remove them from the boiling water and divide them into bowls (amount in each bowl is up to individual preference).
  8. Pour the chicken soup into each bowl containing the dumplings.
  9. Top with coriander leaves and some freshly ground pepper if you wish.

Versatility Note:

  1. You can prepare the dumplings the night before or hours before you make the soup. But you would have to ensure that they do not dry up in room temperature. Cover them with cling film and place them in the refrigerator.
  2. Only boil necessary amount of dumplings and when you are ready to serve the soup to avoid unnecessary wastage. You can always re-heat the soup and boil any remaining dumplings later.
  3. Do not boil the dumplings in the soup, or the soup will turn murky after a few boils.
  4. My grandmother used to buy the glutinous rice, mill it, and mix it into dough, manually. If you can't find someone who can mill it for you, you can also get some glutinous rice flour and mix it with water to make your own dough..