Regular rice flour cannot be substituted in recipes that call for glutinous or sweet rice flour. The favored variety in China is the long-grain type that cooks up relatively dry with easily separated grains.
Tang Yuan and Yuan Xiao are a traditional food for the Lantern Festival. They are glutinous rice balls made of glutinous rice flour rolled round with varieties of sweet fillings such as black sesame paste, peanut paste, red bean paste or lotus paste to name a few. These sweet dumplings are often cooked in a red bean dessert or slab sugar with a piece of ginger to make a soup.
These round shaped Tang Yuan or sometimes called Yuan Xiao (sweet dumplings) symbolise family unity, completeness and happiness to mark the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.
Ingredients for Glutinous Rice Balls:
250g (8 to 9 ounces) glutinous rice flour
15-20g (1/2 to 3/4 ounce) sugar (orange type)
Food colouring (usually pink)
Method for Glutinous Rice Balls:
Add sufficient water to flour and knead into dough. Divide dough into 2 parts. Add food colouring to one part. Knead each dough well. Make balls from the dough. Bring water to boil in a big pot and drop in dough balls to cook. When cooked, balls will rise to the surface. Drain balls and put in a big bowl. Add about 15-20g of sugar to mix with the balls. Set aside.
Ingredients for Syrup:
300ml (10 ounces) water
4-5 pandan leaves, washed and tied into a knot* (see note from Diana's Desserts below)
2-inch knob ginger, crushed (more if desired to give a strong ginger taste)
About 100g (3 1/2 ounces) sugar (orange type)
Method for Syrup:
Bring water to boil in a pot with the pandan leaves* (see note from Diana's Desserts) and ginger. Add sugar and cook until sugar dissolves. Discard pandan leaves (if using) and ginger.
Nonya Ondeh Ondeh
This is one of the popular dessert that you can find in south east Asia (Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia) and it looks like small green balls with coconut flakes covering the surface. In Chinese (Cantonese) we call this sweet potatoes eggs.
Ingredients that you need
300g Glutinous rice flour
200g Sweet potatoes
2 tbsps Tapioca Flour
10 Pandan leaves or also known as screwpine leaves (Most Asian groceries sell this long sword sharp of leaves in a bunch)
A few drops of green colouring
a pinch of salt
100g of Palm sugar (grated and mixed with 1 tbsp castor sugar)
250g Grated white coconut
1)Steam grated white coconut on 2 pieces pandan leaves with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Then leave to cool.
2)Skin sweet potatoes and steam for 15 minutes or until cooked. Mash while still warm.
3)Crush pandan leaves till fine. Add water to make 200ml pandan juice. Follow by adding salt and green food colouring.
4)Put Glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Add in mashed sweet potatoes. Pour in pandan juice and knead it till dough is smooth and spongy. If it is too dry, add some more pandan water from step 3.
5)Pinch a small lump of dough. roll into a ball and flatten. Put a little palm sugar at the centre and seal well to prevent leakage when boiling in later. Save in a boil.
6)Bring a big saucepan of water to the boil. Drop the ondeh ondeh into the boiling water. When the ondeh ondeh rise to the surface, keep boiling for another 2 minutes. Scoop up each ball with a strainer and coat in grated coconut that you have prepared in Step 1.