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vegan miam

Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger & Jasmine Syrup (Tang Yuan)

A big congratulations to the gorgeous Ella of Pure Ella and on her pregnancy! She is 37 weeks pregnant now (dying to know whether it’s a boy or a girl) and we are throwing her a special Virtual Baby Shower today (Wednesday, May 7th). Pure Ella is a beautiful photographic food blog that covers vegan and and mostly gluten-free recipes. She strives to help everyone to live better and live healthier through pure and good foods.

Pure Ella

To celebrate Ella’s pregnancy, I am sharing a vegan and gluten-free dessert that I’ve tried at a tea house in Hong Kong: Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger and Jasmine Syrup (Tang Yuan). Since Ella loves yellow & white (based on her blog theme), I wanted to make something vibrant (yellow & orange) for her! I was blown away by the Jasmine tea flavor in the syrup. These Chinese dumplings are made of glutinous rice flour (do not confuse it with gluten) and sweet potato.

Vegan Tang Yuan

While Tang Yuan can be prepared as either sweet or savory depending on the filling, my sweet potato dumplings are filled with a sweet toasted black sesame paste. Tang Yuan is a traditional dessert, especially popular during festivals (i.e., Lantern’s Festival) and wedding ceremonies.

Tip: Sweet fillings for Tang Yuan usually contain sweet crushed peanuts, black sesame paste or Azuki bean paste and served in a sweet ginger syrup. My favorite sweet fillings are black sesame paste and Azuki (red bean) paste. Savory fillings usually contain ‘meeeat’ (don’t want to spell it here), mushrooms or vegetables in a clear broth along with greens.

Pure Ella

For this recipe, you will need glutinous rice flour and rice flour. If you have ever had Japanese mochi, glutinous rice flour is the main ingredient to make it! Rice flour is a staple ingredient throughout Southeast Asia, used to thicken various dishes and to make fresh rice noodles and sweets. They are readily available in supermarkets and Asian markets. Both bags cost me $2.50 at my local Asian grocery.

Vegan Tang Yuan

A bowl of toasted and ground black sesame seeds. I am a fan of Kevala Organic & Raw Black Sesame Seeds and often use them in my rice & noodle bowls. Toast the black sesame seeds in a dry wok or skillet until the seeds start popping, let them cool then use an electric coffee grinder or food processor to ground them (I used KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder, worked for me all the time).

Vegan Tang Yuan

To prepare sweet toasted black sesame paste, add softened organic extra virgin coconut oil , your favorite sweetener (maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.) and toasted black sesame seeds. Add a variety of ground nuts such as peanuts for more flavor. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour to harden before filling these sweet potato dumplings.

Vegan Tang Yuan

I used a potato ricer to mash my sweet potato (after steaming). Always use a potato ricer for mashed potatoes or even cauliflower!

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger & Jasmine Syrup (Tang Yuan)

Yield: 2 to 3 servings (about 14-16 dumplings)

Ingredients

For the Black Sesame Filling:
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
1½ tablespoons vegan sugar (or 1 TB maple syrup)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
For the Sweet Ginger & Jasmine Syrup:
1 ounce (2 inches) fresh ginger root, peeled and thickly sliced
2½ tablespoons vegan sugar, add more if desired
2 cups water
1 jasmine tea bag (optional)
For the Sweet Potato Glutinous Dumplings:
½ cup + 1½ tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 teaspoon vegan sugar
½ cup mashed sweet potato (200g/7oz uncooked)
2-3 tablespoons hot water, depending on the dough

Method

  1. Make the Black Sesame Filling: Lightly toast the black sesame seeds in a dry wok or skillet until the seeds start popping. Immediately transfer to an electric coffee/spice grinder or food processor and allow to cool. Grind the black sesame seeds until fine. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, sugar and ground black sesame seeds until they form a thick paste. Refrigerate until the mixture is firm, about 1 hour. Spread a sheet of waxed paper on a baking sheet. With a spoon, scoop the mixture about ½-inch in diameter, then use your fingertips to form balls quickly. You should have at least 16 black sesame filling balls. If the mixture becomes too soft, chill briefly. Place them on the paper. Refrigerate for another hour.
  2. Make the Sweet Ginger & Jasmine Syrup: In a small pot, pour in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the ginger slices and cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add sugar, to taste, continue to cook covered until sugar melts. Shut off heat. Immediately add tea bag and let steep for five minutes. Discard tea bag. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Make the Sweet Potato Glutinous Dumplings: Put the potato in the rack of a steamer over boiling water and steam for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Peel potatoes and cut into thick rounds. Use a big fork or potato ricer to smash the potato. In a mixing bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour and rice flour. Add the sugar and mashed potato. Slowly add water (a tablespoon at the time). Mix and knead the dough until it looks like clay dough. Make sure the dough isn't too wet or too dry. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces (~15 g each) and roll them as balls. Remove the black sesame filling 'balls' from the refrigerator. Flatten a piece of dough with the lightly floured palm of your hand. Then, using a small rolling pin, flatten it out to a round 1½ inches in diameter. Place the black sesame filling in the center. Pinch the edges of the dough so that the filling is covered completely and gently roll the balls between your palms to obtain a round shape. Repeat the process until you have 16 filled balls. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook in batches, carefully dropping the balls, one by one, into the boiling water (4-6 should fit comfortably in a pot) and cook until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from water. Immediately transfer the dumplings to the ice bath and let them cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Briefly drain cooked dumplings and add them to a bowl of the sweet syrup. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adapted from Chinese Soup Pot.

No Sweet Syrup Option: Coat the cooked dumplings (must be a bit wet) with desiccated coconut and vegan powdered sugar. Grind ¼ cup desiccated coconut into powder in a food processor and add ½ tablespoon vegan powdered sugar. Mix together and coat the dumplings immediately.

Vegan Tang Yuan

Vegan Tang Yuan

No Sweet Syrup Option: Coat the cooked dumplings (must be a bit wet) with desiccated coconut and vegan powdered sugar. Grind ¼ cup desiccated coconut into powder in a food processor and add ½ tablespoon vegan powdered sugar. Mix together and coat the dumplings immediately.

Vegan Tang Yuan

Pure Ella

I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to Meg of Beard + Bonnet who created the banner above for all of us to use and share. Here are these lovely ladies (in alphabetical order) who took part in this event and shared their beautiful vegan dishes, please check every one of them out:

Ashley of My Heart Beets (Artichoke Hummus)
Beth of Tasty Yummies (Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups)
Cara of Fork and Beans (Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes)
Emma of Coconut & Berries (Strawberry Orange Rosewater Smoothie)
Gabby of The Veggie Nook (Lemon Poppyseed Truffles)
Gina of So…Let’s Hang Out (Cucumber Mint Limeade)
Jenny of Nourished Kitchen (Cultured Coconut Milk & Mango Popsicles)
Kris of 80 Twenty (Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus)
Meg of Beard and Bonnet (Shower Worthy Tea Sandwiches)
Richa of Vegan Richa (Dark Chocolate Silk Pie)
Rika of Vegan Miam (Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger & Jasmine Syrup -Tang Yuan)
Sherrie of With Food + Love (Blackberry + Mango Fruit Salad with Earl Grey Whipped Coconut Cream)
Sylvie of Gourmande In The Kitchen (Hibiscus, Strawberry, & Rhubarb Iced Tea)
Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen (Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes)

Pure Ella


Have you ever used glutinous rice flour or had Tang Yuan before? What’s your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?


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