I was reminded that its 冬至 (Dong Zhi/ winter solstice) today when I check Facebook and saw all the glutinous rice dumplings pictures posted by friends. Accordingly, it's to mark the arrival of winter, which didn't mean much while I was living in Singapore but now in Sweden where winter is declared if the average temperature falls below zero degrees Celsius for at least five consecutive days, the Chinese way seems better! ;)
There are plenty of ready-made frozen rice dumplings in Singapore filled with all kinds of sweetness around this time of the year, but making the traditional white and pink/red ones reminds me of how we used to do it with Mom. It wasn't a favorite dessert among the family, but it was a very important dessert we must eat no matter we like it or not because it symbolizes that the family who eats this together will stay together through the years.
Ingredients (makes about 24 small fish ball size rice balls)
1 cup glutinous rice flour (must be glutinous rice, not rice flour)
2 teaspoons fine sugar
100 - 150 ml water (to be used accordingly)
Food coloring (optional)
Sweet soup to serve rice dumplings in
2-3 Pandan leaves
1/2 cup sugar (or according to taste)
2 cups water
- Mix the glutinous rice flour, sugar, salt together in a bowl and add water gradually until you get a dough which should be pliable but not be sticky. The texture is a bit different from normal dough made with plain flour, which I quite enjoy.
- If you intend to color the dough, divide the dough accordingly to the number of colors you are going to use, but traditionally the dough is divided into half and only a little red coloring is used.
- Roll it out to a long sausage shape and pinch off dough portions big enough to form rice balls the size of small fish balls. You can start preparing the sweet soup by boiling up everything together, adjusting the sweetness level with the amount of sugar you use according to your taste.
- You can either boil the rice balls in the sweet soup itself until it floats up or separately in a pot of water before adding to the sweet soup while serving. The difference is that the clarity and starchiness will be affected if you boil it directly in the sweet soup. (I did it though because this is a small portion and I was lazy:)
- Serve warm and enjoy eating this with your family!