During my childhood days, my mother would always cook a pot of colourful glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) during Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice Festival). The colours of the glutinous rice balls included white, green (with pandan juice), red and yellow (with artificial colourings).

In fact, artificial colouring is NOT a must for making glutinous rice balls with different colours. This recipe uses natural colouring extracted from fresh ingredients to make a pot of beautiful 5-colour glutinous rice balls.

CHINESE VERSION: 天然五彩汤圆

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Natural 5-Colour Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)| MyKitchen101en

Yields: about 240 balls

Ingredients:

For Pandan Sweet Soup (for 120 balls)

  • 1 litre water
  • 90 g sugar
  • 2 pcs pandan leaves

For brown sugar ginger soup: (for 120 balls)

  • 1 litre water
  • 25 g old ginger (smashed)
  • 20 g brown sugar
  • 80 g sugar
  • 2 pcs pandan leaves

For natural colourings:

  • Yellow (pumpkin juice): 150 g pumpkin + 40 ml water
  • Orange (carrot juice): 100 g carrot + 40 ml water
  • Green (pandan juice): 10 g pandan leaves + 90 ml water
  • Red (beetroot juice): 9 g beetroot + 90 ml water

For white rice balls: (yields 48 balls)

  • 100 g glutinous rice flour (80 + 20 g)
  • 15 g icing sugar
  • 60 ml water (+2 tsps)

For natural colouring rice balls: (yields 48 balls each)

  • 100 g glutinous rice flour (80 + 20 g)
  • 15 g icing sugar
  • 70 ml juice (+2 tsps)

Instructions:

Preparing the ingredients:

1 Pandan Sweet Soup: Bring 1 Liter of water to the boil, add in sugar and pandan leaves. Bring to the boil again, then off the heat. Set aside for later use.

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2 Brown Sugar Ginger Soup: Bring 1 Liter of water to the boil, reduce to medium-low heat, add in ginger, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add in brown sugar, sugar and pandan leaves. Bring to the boil again, then off the heat. Set aside for later use.

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3 Natural yellow colour: Add water to pumpkin, blend until smooth, extract pumpkin juice.

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4 Natural orange colour: Add water to carrot, blend until smooth, extract carrot juice.

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5 Natural green colour: Add water to pandan leaves, blend until smooth, extract pandan juice.

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6 Natural red colour: Add water to beetroot, blend until smooth, extract beetroot juice.

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Preparing glutinous rice balls:

1 Mix together 80 g of glutinous rice flour and icing sugar, add in 60 ml of water/70 ml of juice, continue mixing until a dough is formed (Reminder: Start by adding 60 ml of juice, for the remaining 10 ml, add in just enough to yield a smooth dough).

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2 Measure out 15 g of dough and cook in boiling water.

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3 Combine cooked dough and raw dough, mix until well blended.

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4 Add in another 20 g of glutinous rice flour and 2 tsps of water/juice, continue mixing until a dough is formed again (add in some extra flour if the dough is slightly sticky).

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5 Rough the dough into strips, cut into small pieces, then shape into small rice balls.

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6 All glutinous rice balls are done!

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7 Freshly cooked glutinous rice ball has the best texture. Just cook the desired portion, store the remaining portion in a freezer safe container and freeze for later consumption (separate each layer with cling wrap).

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Cooking glutinous rice balls:

1 Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add in rice balls (only 1/2 portion is added in the video). The same cooking method applies to frozen glutinous rice balls.

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2 Remove the rice balls with strainer when they have risen to the surface of water.

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3 Soak the cooked rice balls in icy water until fully cooled.

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4 Drain the cooled glutinous rice balls, then add to the prepared Pandan Sweet Soup/Brown Sugar Ginger Soup.

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