Sesame Tang Yuan

Submitted by Analee

Tang Yuan is an absolute must-have Dong Zhi, the Chinese Winter Festival. You can serve this sesame Tang Yuan with hotAdzuki Bean Soup, or in Ginger Syrup. Should you don't like sweet Tang Yuan, try Tang Yuan in Chicken Soup.


  • 400g white glutinous rice dough (ready-mixed), or see Versatility Note for home-made method
  • 100g ground sesame seed
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted


  1. Mix the ground sesame with the brown sugar then add in the melted butter. Mix well.
  2. Divide the dough into 2-cm portions, and roll them into ball-shaped dumplings between your palms.
  3. Make a dent in the middle and fill up each dumpling with similar amount (to the size of each dumpling) of the sesame mix. Wrap and seal it up nicely, till either the dough or the filling is finished.
  4. In a large pot, put 1 litre of water to boil.
  5. Place these dumplings into the boiling water. Let it boil till the dumplings float to the surface. Transfer them from the boiling water and into adzuki bean soup or ginger syrup.
  6. Serve 5-6, hot or cold.

Versatility Note:

  1. You can prepare the dumplings the night before or hours before you make the filling. 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. You can re-adjust the amount of brown sugar used in the sesame filling depending on your preferred taste.
  3. Do not boil the dumplings in the syrup or adzuki bean soup, or the syrup 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 get glutinous rice flour and mix it with water to make your own dough..