|lavender tang yuan|
So for this special event, my idea was to make tang yuan with a lavender twist. Tang yuan is a Chinese dessert that is traditionally served during the Winter Solstice Festival, but it's not unusual these days to eat them at any time of the year. Basically glutinous rice balls in a sweet and light ginger syrup, it's a dessert I love, and very easy to make.
|glutinous rice balls with lavender bits|
My original intention was to have lavender-flavoured glutinous rice balls in a ginger syrup, but after doing a test run, I discovered that, unfortunately, regular lavender infusion or cordial is simply not powerful enough to cut through the blandness of glutinous rice. You would need super-sensitive tastebuds, or super-concentrated lavender extract to pull that off! So I settled for having plain glutinous rice balls in a ginger-lavender syrup instead...and it's all good.
To make the sweet ginger-lavender syrup:
1/4 cup fresh culinary-grade lavender (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 piece of ginger, sliced (I used around 2 inches)
sugar, to taste (I usually use raw sugar or Chinese yellow rock sugar)
- Steep the lavender in 1/3 cup freshly boiled water with 1 teaspoon sugar, covered. After about half an hour, strain the liquid. (I rolled the glutinous rice balls and then started on other aspects of the syrup while waiting. If you already have lavender cordial, you can skip this step).
- Bring 3 cups water, ginger slices and your desired amount of sugar to boil in a saucepan, then turn down to a simmer.
- After 20 minutes or when the taste is sufficiently gingery, remove from heat and add the strained lavender infusion (or cordial) to your liking.
To make the glutinous rice balls:
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup hot water (As mentioned, I did a test run using lavender water - but it didn't seem to make any discernible difference to the taste, so you can save your lavender and just use plain hot water!)
- Put the flour in a bowl and slowly pour in the hot water.
- Knead until it turns into a soft dough that is neither sticky nor crumbly. Adjust ingredients if you need to, a little at a time.
- Break off small pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to form smooth and round little dumplings about the size of marbles.
- For visual effect, you can poke in bits of lavender as you roll the dumplings. I used the soft bits from the lavender heads that had been steeped in hot water.
- Bring some water to boil in a saucepan, and put the glutinous rice balls in one by one.
- Soon after they float to the surface, drain and serve in the sweet ginger-lavender syrup. You can serve it hot or cold - I think I prefer it hot.
|tang yuan with a lavender twist|