As the first day of winter approached yesterday, we had a Korean rice cake roll in a savory chicken broth soup base to celebrate the first day of winter. I always forget that the Chinese celebrate the first day of winter almost like a holiday where family gathers to eat tang yuen(glutinous sticky rice ball). Tang yuen is symbolic for union — hence a family reunion of some sort. I realize it is dong zhi whenever I see some form of sticky rice ball showing up in my meals for the day. I didn’t realize how big it is among the Chinese community until I went out to buy more glutinous flour for round 2 of sticky ball and come to find out that every Asian market is sold out on the flour! Wow…unbelievable. I end up buying Korean sweet rice flour for 4x the price of the Chinese glutinous rice flour brand. And note that I did realize that the Korean version is not as sticky as the Chinese stuff, so if you do use Korean sweet rice, either use it straight up or only mix in 10% regular rice flour.
Previously I posted a recipe on a savory version of eating sticky rice ball. Here, I will show you the sweet version of eating sticky rice ball. Either can be eaten on the first day of winter or you can eat both: one for entree and one for dessert. The sweet version is almost always served in a ginger syrup broth. The sticky ball though can vary from the plain rice ball to many fancy sweet fillings like red bean, peanut, black sesame or whatever floats your boat I guess.
Here I posted a recipe of my own DIY peanut sticky rice ball. Generally some people suggest using peanut butter for the filling but I find it too salty, not crunchy enough, and not roasty enough, so I made my own peanut fillings using dry roasted peanuts, honey, and butter. And o my, it is fragrance and yummy and just sweet enough.
makes 20 medium size balls
(A) Make the homemade peanut butter.
1 cups dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted if possible
1/4 cup honey
1-2 tbsp butter, melted
- Roast the peanut in a toaster oven under “toast” setting for 5-8 minutes until just brown.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peanuts coarsely. You may use a food processor too, just make sure you don’t blend it too smooth unless you want smooth peanut butter. Coarse is better for a crunchy texture.
- Spread the peanuts on a shallow bowl about 1/2 inch thick. Spread honey evenly on top then pour the melted butter over it. Mix well then spread back out to 1/2 inch thick on the bowl. It should look something like a graham cracker crust in term of consistency. If falling apart then put a tad more butter. Taste to see if it is sweet enough. If not, add more honey and mix well.
- Place it in the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes to allow butter to firm up the peanut mixture.
(B) Make the ginger syrup (1 cup per serving)
4 cups water
2 round of palm sugar
4 large slices of ginger, smashed
- Bring all to a boil and let it simmer on low for 15 minutes. Keep warm
(C) Make the sticky ball dough.
3/4 cup glutinous rice flour
1/4 cup regular rice flour
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp cold water, sufficient
- Mix flour and sugar with hot water. Mix until combined. Add sufficient cold water until you form a dough that’s slightly sticky. Start with 2 tbsp then add by teaspoon if needed.
- Half the dough. Roll one half into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Take an inch piece from log and roll into a ball. Smoosh flat, then pan it out to a disc (make sure the middle is still slightly thicker than the rest of the disc to assure fillings doesn’t break through it).
(D) Fill the sticky ball with peanut fillings.
- Take a teaspoon of fillings. Roll it into a mini ball. Place it on the middle of the sticky ball disc. Fold it like a dumpling in half for the seam to touch each other. Fold the corners to touch each other. With slighly wet fingers, squish all the corners together and roll the ball in your palm so the seam forms a perfect circle with the rest of the dough. Place it on a plate dusted with flour. (you may freeze the balls on the plate after dusting it with flour. After it is frozen, you can then store it in a bag for future use.)
(E) Cook the sticky balls in hot water until it floats.
(F) Drain the sticky balls and serve it in a mini bowl and ladle ginger syrup broth into it. Enjoy!