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MASTER RECIPE: GLUTINOUS RICE BALLS -- (tang yuan) Makes: 20 stuffed glutinous rice balls, or 60-80 unfilled small rice balls (depending on size). Ingredients: 1 ! cups plus 2 tbsp (200g) glutinous rice flour, plus more to dust 2/3 cup lukewarm water 1 teaspoon melted refined coconut oil Instructions: 1. In a mixing bowl, add the oil and 2/3 cup of lukewarm water to the glutinous rice flour, gently stirring with a spoon as you slowly pour in the water. 2. Using your hand, gently knead the dough with to form a ball. If a dough ball does not easily form, add a teaspoon of water at a time and continue to knead until a dough ball forms and is the consistency of soft putty. 3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Pinch off a 1-inch round piece of dough and flatten into a disk with the palms of your hand and place the dough into the boiling water. Once the dough floats, remove it with a sieve. 4. In the mixing bowl, break up your dough ball from Step 2. Add the boiled dough from Step 3, and knead until the dough ball and the boiled dough become uniform in consistency. (Will take about 2 to 3 minutes. You can use an electric mixer to do this if you have one). Add a sprinkling of glutinous rice flour if the dough is too sticky. Note: You can divide the dough and add a few drops of food coloring if you want colored glutinous rice balls. 5. To make stuffed glutinous rice balls: on a cutting board lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour, roll the dough into a 1-inch thick log and divide into 20 equal pieces about the size of a walnut. To make regular glutinous rice balls: roll into a !-inch thick log and break into equal pieces of the desired size. 6. Roll each piece of dough into a sphere with the palm of your hands. Place on a plate lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour, and cover with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out while you finish rolling the rest of the dough. 7. To fill stuffed glutinous rice balls: Press your thumb into the center of the dough to form a little nest. Place the filling of your choice in the middle of the dough, gently draw the edges of the dough up around the ball, seal, and roll into a sphere. Place on a plate lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour, and cover with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out while you finish making the rest of the stuffed glutinous rice balls. 8. You can freeze the glutinous rice balls if you are not going to be using them immediately. If freezing, freeze on a plate before transferring it into a Ziploc bag. 9. If using immediately, place the rice balls in boiling water, gently stir, and wait for them to float to the surface. Lower the heat to a simmer and wait for the rice balls to slightly expand before gently scooping them out with a sieve and placing in the soup/liquid you will be serving them in. Note: If you are cooking stuffed rice balls from a frozen state, let them simmer for a few extra minutes to make sure the filling is hot and melted.

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Taiwanese Hakka Style Savory Glutinous Rice Ball Soup -- Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients: " cup vegetable oil 3 shallots, thinly sliced " lb. pork (pork belly or pork loin), thinly sliced into strips 1 small bowl dried shrimp, rehydrated in a bowl of water 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in a bowl of water and then sliced ! cup Chinese chives, chopped () 3 stalks Chinese celery (), stalks chopped and leaves picked off and set aside 3 sprigs cilantro, stems chopped and leaves picked off and set aside 2 cups chrysanthemum leaves () 1 quart pork/chicken broth salt white pepper 2 to 3 cups fresh or frozen glutinous rice balls Instructions: 1. Preparation for cooking the glutinous rice balls: fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. 2. Meanwhile, heat a saut pan or wok on medium heat. Add " cup of vegetable oil, and immediately add the sliced shallots. Pan fry the shallots over medium heat, lowering the heat to low once they begin to change color. Stir frequently, being careful not to burn the shallots. (If you burn the shallots, they will make the soup taste bitter and you will have to start over.) Once shallots are golden colored, transfer the oil and shallots into a heatproof bowl. 3. Lightly sprinkle the pork with salt. In the same pan used to fry the shallots, saut the pork strips until lightly browned. Remove from pan, and transfer onto a plate. 4. Saut the dried shrimp, sliced shitake mushrooms, Chinese chives, celery stems, and cilantro stems until fragrant. 5. (Transfer items in the saut pan/wok to a saucepan if its not large enough to hold at least 2 quarts of liquid.) Add the broth, shallots, pork, ! cup of the mushroom soaking liquid, and " cup of the shrimp soaking liquid to the shrimp-mushroom-vegetable mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and add salt and white pepper, and additional shrimp/mushroom soaking liquid, to taste. Add the chrysanthemum leaves, cilantro leaves, and celery leaves. 6. To cook the glutinous rice balls: to the pot of boiling water in Step 1, add the glutinous rice balls and gently stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Bring to a boil. As soon as the rice balls rise to the surface, use a sieve and transfer the rice balls to the soup. 7. The soup is done once the vegetables are tender and the rice balls look puffed and slightly expanded (taste to make sure they are thoroughly cooked through). Serve immediately.

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Sweet Stuffed Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan) This is a dessert traditionally eaten on the last day of the Lunar New Year aka Winter Solstice. They are traditionally stuffed with sweetened pastes and are served in a variety of ways. Most simply, its served the water it was boiled in. It can also be served in variety of sweet dessert soups, for example: sweetened syrup (ginger), fermented sweet rice, sweet dessert soups (red bean). Instead of serving it in a liquid, you may also roll it in ground peanut or sesame powder, sweetened with sugar for a nice variation. Here are some basic recipes for filling. If you have an electric mixer, use it for the black sesame paste and peanut paste recipes. Lard is traditionally the oil of choice, but for a healthier option, use refined coconut oil (which doesnt taste like coconut)! You should plan on making filling at least 2 hours before you make the stuffed glutinous rice balls because it needs time to chill in the refrigerator. It will store for a month in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Black Sesame Paste: You can purchase black sesame paste in a can, make your own paste using storebought black sesame powder, or toast and freshly grind black sesame seeds for best flavor (using a food processor). This recipe makes enough filling for at least 50 stuffed glutinous rice balls. You can divide the recipe in half if you want to make a lesser quantity. Ingredients: 150 grams black sesame powder 150 grams powdered sugar, sifted (use more or less, to taste) 100 grams lard or refined coconut oil (solid at room temperature). Peanut Paste: Make your own paste using store-bought ground peanut powder, or grind roasted peanuts for a fresher taste. This recipe makes enough filling for at least 50 stuffed glutinous rice balls. You can divide the recipe in half if you want to make a lesser quantity. Ingredients: 150 grams peanut powder 150 grams powdered sugar, sifted (use more or less, to taste) 140 grams lard or refined coconut oil (solid at room temperature) Instructions for Black Sesame Paste & Peanut Paste: 1. Combine the black sesame powder and powdered sugar. 2. Mix in the lard/refined coconut oil to form a dough ball. 3. Chill for 20 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is the texture of chilled cookie dough. It should be firm, but not so hard that it you cant easily scoop it with a spoon. (If its too cold, let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature. If at any time you are working with the paste and it becomes too warm to work with, place it back in the fridge for a few minutes until its easier to work with). 4. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cherry-sized pieces of chilled dough and roll into spheres using the palm of your hands, working quickly so that the oil doesnt melt. 5. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until completely hardened, about 1 to 2 hours. 6. Use in recipe.

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Red Bean Paste: Ready-made sweetened red bean paste (Adzuki) is available canned or in the refrigerated aisle of your local Asian grocery store. If you want to control the amount of sugar, you can make your own from canned unsweetened Adzuki beans. Ingredients: 1/2 cup water (use more or less, to taste) 1 cup sugar 14 oz. can Adzuki beans 1 tbsp. oil Instructions: 1. In a small saucepan, mix water with sugar. Heat until it boils and sugar is dissolved. 2. Remove from heat and pour into small heat-proof bowl. Set aside. 3. Open the can of Adzuki beans and drain. Pour Adzuki beans into the saucepan and mash with a fork. 4. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup and the oil. 5. Return saucepan to medium heat and stir beans until thick and glossy. 6. Add more of the sugar syrup if you want extra sweetness. 7. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, until well chilled.

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