Glutinous Rice Ball (Tangyuan) with Sesame Peanuts

Words that come from the heart stay warm three winters long.
~ Chinese Proverb

Today’s blog is about Winnie’s recipe which she shared on our Cooking Club. There are many steps to making this but are pretty simple. We took 1 hour to make this including cooking time.

Tangyuan can be unfilled or filled, fillings can include red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar, sesame paste (ground black sesame seeds mixed with lard), rock sugar (which would create a hot, melting caramel-like filling), etc. We used peanut butter and instant sesame powder which gives a strong peanut butter taste.


To the Chinese, Glutinous rice ball (tangyuan) is eaten all year round, although it is commonly associated with the Chinese New Year, and the Lantern Festival. Glutinous rice ball is made by mixing glutinous rice flour with a small amount of water and form into balls and is then cooked in boiling water and served in syrup water.


These ingredients is sufficient to make about 20 rice balls — good enough serving for 4-5 people.

For the glutinous rice balls:

  • Peanut Butter: 3 tablespoon
  • Instant Sesame Powder: 2 tablespoon (buy them from Asian stores)
  • Icing Sugar: 2 tablespoon
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds: 3 tablespoon
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: 400g

For the syrup:

  • Ginger: 1 piece
  • Brown Sugar: 150g
  • Mandarin Orange Peel: 1 piece


IMG_3391_edited-1 Mix up peanut butter, instant sesame powder and icing sugar and form into 20 small pieces. You then roll the smalls pieces into balls and then roll it on the sesame seed so that it’s all coated. This is the filling for the rice ball. It’s recommended that you chill this fillings so that it easier to handle as it is very soft.
IMG_3401_edited-1Making the glutinouse rice ball coating is an iterative process in which you make one layer at a time until the size of the ball is double the filling size. You need to make sure that there are no cracks on the surface.You first put the glutinous rice flour in a bowl. Add each filling at a time, swirl it around the flour to coat it. You then take the coated balls and dip it into cold water for a second and then put it back into the flour for further coating. Repeat this until the size of the ball is double the size of the filling. We repeated these steps at least ten times for each ball.
IMG_3409_edited-1 The rice balls need to to cooked in boling water. You will know when it’s ready when the balls floats to the top of the pot.
IMG_3406_edited-1To prepare the syrup, you just need to boil the ginger, brown sugar and mandarin orange peel together until the sugar is dissolved. Boil it on 4 cups of water.

To serve, just put in the rice balls into the syrup.


I know this has a lot of steps and not a 15 minute thingy but I hope you will give this a try. It’s fun doing it. To add a bit of fun, you could also add colouring to the flour so that you can make multi-coloured ones. I think the kids will like it. It’s very sweet and peanut buttery.

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  1. lux

    I love tang yuan! But this is the first time i have ever seen anyone try to make it from home. Sounds arduous but delicious.

  2. Furby_1010

    Sounds really nice!!! yummy!!!

  3. ahmei

    Hello, I’m wondering, instead of the process of dipping the filling balls into the glutinous rice flour/water, could we make a glutinous rice dough (from the “Hong Kong style Tang Yuan” recipe) and wrap them up? Would it make much difference?

    1. Suanne

      Hi ahmei, you can certainly wrap the filling with a glutinous rice dough. Winnie just want to share her fancy method.

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