Savoring The Best All Over Town…


Posted by Criz Lai On December - 21 - 2008|

Today is the celebration of the Dongzhi Festival or Winter Solstice Festival. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the Dongzhi solar term on or around December 22 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. This year, it’s celebrated a day earlier due to being a leap year. This is the time when family members would gather, making and eating of colored balls of glutinous rice which symbolize reunion. Normally, the Tang Yuan would be taken in a sweet soup broth (plain or brown sugar) with or without a touch of ginger flavor.


What I’m going to share today is the recipe for making this wonderful Tang Yuan in a savory soup version. This is normally home cook in some of the Hokkien families in China and would not be easily obtained in any of the local restaurants. I called the dish the SAVORY TANG YUAN.


250gms glutinous rice flour
250gms minced pork
250gms lean pork
1 small jicama (yam bean/sengkuang)
1 carrot
1 stalk Chinese celery
4 pips garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tbsp salt
Some pepper
3 liter water

Fried garlic oil
Chopped Chinese celery

Pork Liver
Pork Kidney
Pork Intestine

1. Heat up the wok. Add in 3 tablespoon of oil and sauté the chopped garlic until golden brown. Scoop and leave aside to cool.
2. Put the minced meat into a mixing bowl. Add in some pepper, 2 tablespoon each of chopped Chinese celery, chopped carrot, sesame oil, light soy sauce, corn/tapioca starch, and one tablespoon each of oyster sauce and fried garlic. Mix evenly.
3. Oil a metal plate and lay the rolled meat balls and steam for 5 minutes. Leave aside to cool.
4. Cut the remaining carrot, jicama and lean pork into slices.
5. Bring 3 liter pot of water to boil. Add in Item 4.
6. Add in 1/2 tablespoon salt, some pepper, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and sesame oil and boil until left 2/3 pot.
7. Fold in some water, pinch of salt into the glutinous rice flour until dough like. (Note: sprinkle some more water if it’s too dry or lay the dough onto a towel if it’s too wet)
8. Take some dough and roll into a ball. Flatten it with your palm and fill it with a meat ball. Slowly roll it back into a ball. Repeat the same step until you used up all the dough. (Note: Lay a tray and place a towel on it. Place the rolled glutinous rice balls on it)
9. Bring a pot of water to boil and slowly put in all the glutinous rice balls. Cooked glutinous rice ball will float up.
10. Put whatever quantity of cooked glutinous rice balls into a bowl and scoop some soup onto it.
11. Garnish with some fried garlic oil and chopped Chinese celery.

(Serves: 4-6)




  1. Thk u!! nvr had savoury version before.. now i got the recipe for it to try during my free time. Mayb can sell too ;p

    Wow! It sounded as though you are game to try out just anything. 😛 This will taste better with other inlets but I don’t take them, so I opted out.

  2. Duckie says:

    savoury tang yuen looks interesting. too bad i saw your blog a few days late or i’d have definately try it!!!

    Nvm.. There’s always next year 😛

  3. Selba says:

    Love most of food that is made by glutinous rice 🙂

    Savory tang yuen? Looks kinda meatballs…. must be really yummy…. *slurp*

    Well, it’s meatball inside indeed with a bit of springy feeling on the outer layer. Unfortunately I could not have dry fried rice version as in the triangular rice dumpling or else the taste would be even better. 🙂

  4. This is cool, Criz! I’m actually finding the conventional plain/sweet ones a bit boring, so this really mixes it up nicely! But I’m a day late, I think. Next year I guess…

    Never mind, it’s great to learn something new everyday. 🙂

  5. wow…. you are creative. May be I should try that next year and told my MIL about this. lol

    Well, try something different would be good 🙂

  6. mimid3vils says:

    I only try the sweet soup tong yun, this savory type didnt have b4 ler…

    Have leh… I ate a lot when I was young. Most Hokkien would know how to cook this but in a different way.

  7. allenooi says:

    it seems to be the yong tau hu to me. hahaha.

    Sweat~ I think I would take you to more food hunt soon.. haha 😛

  8. desmond-t says:

    Hey Criz… happy Winter Solstice festival to you too! Happy Tong Yuen festival! hehehe

    I’m sure gonna dig out your whole blog for food aspiration when I’m back in Penang tmr!

    Merry Xmas !

    Haha… happy hunting then Desmond. 🙂

  9. allie says:

    Gonna try this out next year~

    Yea.. try something salty on top of the traditional ones 🙂

  10. Tan says:

    Interesting Tang Yuan Recipe. Something new for me for Hokkien recipe. This recipe really interesting by rice ball. Here’s in Thailand interesting and famous by Hokkien noodle as I know.

    *~Merry Christmas & Happy New Year~*

    Best wishes,

    สวาดีครับ. สวัสดีปีใหม่. Thanks for coming. I hope to know more of your Thai recipes too. The green curry paste was real hot.. haha. See you around. 🙂

  11. Dee says:

    Mmm… never tried savoury tang yuen, but sure looks yummy! You have a great blog – I know I’m going to find lots on inspiration here.

    You should try making some. It’s real easy. 🙂

  12. Dskco says:

    those look so cool! i swear it looks like Malaysia has the best food around.

    Thanks for leaving your comment from DC, Maryland, Virginia. You are right! You can get practically every nationality’s food here. 🙂

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