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.
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!
(serves one small family)
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.
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.