Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Winter Solstice Festival Today!

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is Winter Solstice Festival today. When we were young, we call it the 'Tang Yuan' Festival because it seems like the only thing we do on this particular day is early morning Chinese prayers followed by a feast for lunch and dinner.

Whole chicken, complete with head and feet never fail to glaze the table. In western countries, you have Thanksgiving, Hannukah and all sorta things where you all have whole roast chicken or a leg of ham. It's the same in Asian houses except that it is usually a whole steamed pr poached chicken.

The chicken is served as it is with sometimes buttered rice, sorta like Hainanese Chicken Rice and any leftovers can be turned into steamed salted chciken the following days. One can eat lotsa bowls of rice with just the salted steamed chicken. That's what they eat when they were poor.

Though it its Winter Solstice, winter season never happened in Malaysia however December in Malaysia is the coolest and wettest month all year round. It generally rained more through to April, oh well I guess that is winter, the furthest it could get in Malaysia!

Tang Yuan can take many colours but I've just choose pink and white because that is what I grew up with. I twisted the broth a little to give it a Nyonya taste. Adding a touch of Dragon's Eyes or dried longan and red dates elevated the ordinary plain rock sugar-ginger-syrup. And of course not forgetting pandan leaves as well. They are a must, Asian vanilla essence!



Tang Yuan
(serves one small family)

Glutinous Balls
80g glutinous rice flour
4 tbsp room temperature water
1 tbsp hot water

Mix to form a dough. Spraying my hand with canola spray helps ease stickiness. Pinch into small balls and roll into Yuan shape. Repeat with the same proportion but add a drop of red colouring to the water to get pink dough.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add all the glutinous balls and boil until they float to the surface of the water. Let it bob around a while and turn off the heat. Fish them out and plunge them into cold water. This will increase the chewiness of the balls. Drain them and divide them into small serving rice bowls. Ladle hot Tang over and serve immediately.

Tang

5 cups of water
Gula Melaka to taste, I use one block
1/4 cup of dried longan
1/4 cup of red dates
1.5'' thumb size of old ginger
2 pandan leaves, knotted together

Bring all the Tang ingredients to boil and simmer until all dried longans and red dates puff to its maximum size, about 15 to 20 minutes.

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16 comments on "It's Winter Solstice Festival Today!"

tracieMoo on December 22, 2009 at 3:04 PM said...

Happy 'tang yuan' Festival, Quinn! Hope you have a great time :)

Anncoo on December 22, 2009 at 3:47 PM said...

冬至快乐~~

Quinn on December 22, 2009 at 4:01 PM said...

Happy Dong Zhi to Ann and Tracie too!!!

tigerfish on December 22, 2009 at 7:03 PM said...

We have not celebrated Dong Zhi for a long long long long time.

Christine on December 22, 2009 at 10:11 PM said...

I didn't make Tang Yuan' today, hehe...
Yours look yummy and make me feel hungry again.

cherry potato on December 23, 2009 at 12:24 AM said...

Happy "Dong Zhi" to you.

Dodol & Mochi on December 23, 2009 at 1:52 AM said...

Happy Winter Solstice to you, too ... albeit it's summer in the Down Under, LOL!!

Pei-Lin

Ravenous Couple on December 23, 2009 at 5:10 AM said...

glutinous rice desserts are the best...very nice explanation of the culture behind this dish as well!

Quinn on December 23, 2009 at 9:56 PM said...

Tigerfish: You should because according to my Nana, Dong Zhi festival itself is more grand than the Chinese New Year!

Christine: Must make, every year also must make!!! One thing I can never not have in pantry is glutinous rice flour. It's the key to many wonderful kuihs and Tang Yuan of course!

Cherry Potato & Pei Lin,

A very happy Dong Zhi to both of you all!!

++MIRA++ on December 24, 2009 at 2:19 PM said...

oooooo this looks really yuummy. ive never heard of this. happy festival to u too:)

My Taste Heaven on December 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM said...

happy belated dong zhi and merry x'mas! :D

Ju (The Little Teochew) on December 25, 2009 at 1:35 PM said...

Very pretty tang yuan. Kudos to you for taking the trouble to make this despite being so far away from home, Quinn!

zurin on December 25, 2009 at 7:39 PM said...

Ilike glutinous rice balls .and these are so simple to do . I did nt know that it was a celebratory desert until I saw this on a few blogs...I almost made it a bout a month aago to blog but never got around to it. I saw it in a magazine...very pretty colours!!

pierre on December 26, 2009 at 9:53 PM said...

Hello Quinn
I am amazed by this recipe ! thanks for the sharing !!! and happy celebrations in AUstralia !
if you like french food come and see my blog where I have dedicated some creative french food !!
see you sson !! Pierre from Paris

Ellie on December 27, 2009 at 10:06 AM said...

Your tang yuan is making me home sick. I haven't had this since moving to Australia. None in my household likes it and I stop making them. I enjoy gawking at yours!

Quinn on January 2, 2010 at 1:45 PM said...

Mira: Now you've heard of it first from BakingQuinn. This is simple but delicious. If you like chewy stuffs, you'll love this one!

Ju: I always believe because the further you are rom home, the more reason you should make it to keep traditions alive!

Zu: Yeah, just like glutinous ball. The same base and texture as onden ondeh and angku kuih! It now comes in many pretty colours but it pink and white is just what I grew up with.

Pierre: Thanks! Sure I will, I do cook French once in a while!

Ellie: Awww.....don't get homesick please...they say Winter Solstice Festival itself is way more grand than Chinese New Year. Everyone should eat a tiny bowl of this really!

Happy New Year everyone and thanks again!

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