Let’s have a couple of these soft, chewy dumplings filled with a sweet black sesame seed mixture to wrap up the 15-day celebrations of the Lunar Chinese New Year. The glutinous rice ball, or 元宵 in Chinese, is actually the name for the Lantern Festival that occurs on the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. Eating the sweet delicacy together with family, you and your loved ones will have a sweet life throughout the year!
Yields about 35 Yuan Xiao Dumplings
100g black sesame seeds 黑芝麻
40g caster sugar
20g unsalted butter
2 tablespoon peanut butter (optional) 花生酱
250g glutinous rice flour 糯米粉
180g water in room temperature
- In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan and stirring continuously to keep the seeds from burning. Use a small food processor. Add toasted sesame seeds and sugar and grind to a fine, sandy mixture. Melt the butter over low heat and cool it off. In a mixing bowl, combine the ‘sandy mixture’ with butter to form a big ball. Add peanut butter as it would help you bring the mixture together.
- Form the mixture into small balls with your hands. Each sesame ball weights about 6gram.
- In another mixing bowl, place the glutinous flour. Add the water, a small amount at a time, working and shaping the dough until it has a texture similar to playdough – not too soft, but smooth and easy to manipulate. If you find the dough is too dry and it is hard to bring bits of dough together, simply place a piece of dough (1/6 of the mixture) to a boiling water over high heat. Cook until the small dough float to the top of the water. Take the piece out and combine it with remainder in the mixing bowl. The ‘cooked’ dough piece plays the role of ‘glue’ to bring the dry bits of dough pieces together.
- Roll the dough into a log of about 2cm and divide it into small equal pieces. Each piece weighs about 10gram to 12gram. Roll the piece into a ball. Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the dough, and place a sesame ball into the hole. Close it up. It is important to make sure the sesame ball is completely covered with the dough. Gently roll the dumpling between your two hands to a perfect round shape. Continue with the remainder of the dough. Sprinkle some dry glutinous rice flour over the dumplings to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and gently drop the dumplings in. Use a wooden spoon to gently nudge the dumplings and make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the dumplings float to the top of the water, add 1 cup of cold water (this will keep the skins from splitting), cover the pot and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pot with a slotted spoon and scoop a couple spoonfuls of the cooking water over them to keep them from sticking to each other.
- To serve, place 3 to 4 dumplings into a small bowl for each person and add a couple of the remaining cooking water.