Asian, Desserts + Sweets, Recipes

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)


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


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.

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.

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.


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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  • Reply Pure Ella’s Baby Shower! Hosted by amazing blogger friends!! | Pure Ella 2014-05-07 at 6:03 am

    […] Rika of Vegan Miam (Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger & Jasmine Syrup -Tang Yuan) […]

  • Reply cquek 2014-05-07 at 6:56 am

    i love to have a bowl right now.

  • Reply Meg@Beard and Bonnet 2014-05-07 at 8:03 am

    This is just stunning! I wish I had a bowl right now. I am so happy to have connected through Ella’s baby shower and I can’t wait to pour through your site. Thank you so much for dedicating a post to Ella, I know it means the world to her!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-07 at 10:57 am

      Thanks Meg for organising this event, I appreciate your hard work! And great to stay connected with you, too! xx

  • Reply Pure Ella 2014-05-07 at 8:07 am

    Rika, this is such an amazing recipe!

    I love these flavour combinations and it sure is something I would love to try 😉

    You know what…. you won’t believe this, but a few months ago, my daughter referred to the baby (in the belly) as ‘dumpling’ and it totally stuck! We call the baby ‘dumpling’ all the time now… 😉

    Now how would you know that…? You wouldn’t! And yet you made a dumpling recipe ~ this is just the cutest thing ever!!

    Thank you so much for being a part of this special day!

    Sending BIG hugs!!

    xox ella

    ps. and your photo collage is so beautiful!! Thank you for all your love + talent!! 😉

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-07 at 11:01 am

      Thank you Ella for sharing this beautiful story – I can’t wait to read all about your ‘dumpling’, and dumpling is such a cute name! I’m so happy that my dumplings remind you fondly of the conversation you had with your daughter! All the best wishes to you, gorgeous Ella! xxx

  • Reply Cara 2014-05-07 at 8:51 am

    I am so intrigued by this recipe! I love the sound of the texture and the fillings are some my favorite flavors. I’d probably have to eat a dozen just to make sure they are good to eat 😉

  • Reply Healthy Green Kitchen Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes » Healthy Green Kitchen 2014-05-07 at 9:02 am

    […] Mint Limeade) // Beth of Tasty Yummies (Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups) // Rika of Vegan Miam (Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger and Jasmine Syrup {Tang Yuan}) // Richa of Vegan Richa (Dark Chocolate Silk Pie) // Gabby of The Veggie Nook (Lemon Poppyseed […]

  • Reply Gina @ So Let's Hang Out 2014-05-07 at 9:07 am

    These look awesome!! I’m itching to try it out. So glad I found your blog through this collaboration! :)

  • Reply Vegan Richa 2014-05-07 at 10:57 am

    i love the colors of the dumplings. everything is so bright and cheerful. are the dumpling balls chewy or airy?

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-07 at 10:58 am

      They are soft like Japanese mochi 😉 Thanks Richa!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-07 at 11:00 am

      Between chewy and airy 😉 hard to describe!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-12-21 at 12:53 pm

      Soft! :)

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodRecipesHQ 2014-05-07 at 11:58 am

    So nice of you to throw Ella a party! The recipe is fantastic, I love that you provided more pictures, it makes a difference to see a few images of a recipe when trying something for the first time! I’ve got rice flour, now I only need to find the glutinous one :)

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-07 at 12:22 pm

      Grazie mille Daniela! Glutinous rice flour is very useful to make mochi since you’re very interested in Japanese cuisine ^___^

  • Reply Beth @ Tasty Yummies 2014-05-07 at 12:46 pm

    OMG serious this is absolutely beautiful. I would eat these up, so quick. So excited to be connected with you for this wonderful occasion. I am now off to peruse this beautiful site of yours. I am so excited to have found you through this. xoxo

  • Reply Gabby 2014-05-07 at 12:56 pm

    Oh GOSH! You probably don’t know this about me, but if I see black sesame anything, I have to eat it! And you combined it with my favourite tea! Clearly I am obsessed and wish this shower was in real life so I could eat 20 of these (and of course meet all you wonderful people!). So happy to have gotten to do this with you!

  • Reply Sylvie Shirazi 2014-05-07 at 6:40 pm

    The ginger jasmine syrup sounds divine!

  • Reply Katt Ⓥ 2014-05-07 at 7:00 pm

    Stunning dumplings, Rika, the images here are just beautiful. Wishing I were in Hong Kong or wherever you are to try it…

  • Reply Katt Ⓥ 2014-05-07 at 7:07 pm

    Stunning dumplings, Rika, the images here are just beautiful. Wishing I were in Hong Kong or wherever you are to try it…

  • Reply The vegan 8 2014-05-08 at 12:49 am

    These look and sound incredible Rika. I have never even heard of sweet potato dumplings before! I love the step by step photos…super cool. I’m salivating at the thought of that ginger jasmine syrup too….I am pretty obsessed with anything ginger. Amazing recipe!

  • Reply coconutandberries 2014-05-08 at 3:19 am

    I’m so intrigued by this recipe. I haven’t had anything similar before but the flavours sound amazing. The only thing I’ve made with glutinous rice flour is mochi! I wonder if I still have the bag of flour…

  • Reply Katrin 2014-05-08 at 5:09 am

    A virtual baby shower is such a great idea! And your recipe looks so delicious, Rika! You always make me hungry. :) I will definitely give it a try. I never had anything like that before.

  • Reply The Peace Patch 2014-05-08 at 7:42 am

    ohgoodgolly you all are so thoughtful to honor Ella and her little “dumpling” this way…even down to the color theme! I’ve had these little balls of bliss before but never like yours so this is definitely a keeper recipe. Many thanks for sharing it and the links too. Cheers!

  • Reply Vegan Nigerian 2014-05-08 at 8:23 am

    This looks amazing! Yum! :)

  • Reply Ashley 2014-05-08 at 10:29 am

    This looks SO beautiful and delicious! So happy to have met you at this party 😉

  • Reply Vicky Rockcliffe 2014-05-09 at 3:17 am

    These look so pretty and tasty – your photos are amazing!

  • Reply Priyanka 2014-05-09 at 7:46 am

    Gorgeous Summery Desert and Lots of Love to the little bump. I just made something with Sweet potato although its the white fleshed sweet potato…but really loved yours vibrant desert..will definitely try it.

  • Reply lisacng @ 2014-05-09 at 10:05 am

    I’ve never made my own tang yuan but this recipe looks doable. Thanks!!!

  • Reply Kelly @ Life made Sweeter 2014-05-09 at 10:32 am

    These look awesome Rika! I love tang yuan and really like this creative twist using sweet potato in the dough and making the syrup with jasmine tea. I’ve never made my own but can’t wait to try yours :) So nice of you girls to throw this fun virtual shower for Ella – she looks stunning!

  • Reply Irina @ wandercrush 2014-05-10 at 4:36 am

    As usual, your innovation blows me away! Way to make vegan look vastly unlimited. I love this twist on something I thought I couldn’t love more 😉 Things have been crazy over here but it’s so nice to be visiting your blog again. Hope you’ve been well, Rika!

  • Reply The Vegan Cookie Fairy 2014-05-11 at 12:46 am

    I’d never heard of tan yan before but OMG it looks amazing!!

  • Reply Koko ( 2014-05-11 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve never used glutinous rice flour before….because it sounds scary! But these actually don’t look to difficult. I’d really like to try making these. Not only do they sound amaaazing, I’ve always been intrigued by Asian desserts that use savory things in them like bean paste, and rice and potatoes and stuff. I think I can find everything I need quite easily here, just maybe have to go to an asian grocery to get the glutinous rice flour. I really want to make this! Is it possible to use a tbsp of brown rice flour where the white rice flour is? (just wondering because I already have some of that…) Thanks for such a cool recipe, that I think I can tackle!

    And congratulations to Ella!!!

  • Reply Sherrie | With Food + Love 2014-05-12 at 5:44 pm

    What a beautiful + brilliant recipe!!

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats 2014-05-13 at 11:32 am

    Wow, these dumplings look amazing!!! I bet that ginger jasmine syrup is so so good :)

  • Reply Victoria Logunova 2014-05-13 at 4:15 pm

    Wow, wow! Your blog is beautiful and the photos are stunning!! I am a new fan of your amazing blog! :)

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-13 at 4:39 pm

      Spasibo, Vika! Thank you for the love! x

  • Reply Holly 2014-05-14 at 1:09 pm


    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-15 at 9:47 am

      Thanks Holly! Can’t wait to see you soon! xx

  • Reply chowvegan 2014-05-14 at 9:17 pm

    The yuan looks so pretty! Love the color! I prefer the savory kind but I wouldn’t mind trying your sweet potato version. :-)

  • Reply Hannah B. 2014-05-15 at 9:44 am

    I love jasmine, and would likely just straight up drink the syrup! I wonder if it would be good mixed in a little bubble water. This whole concept is blowing my mind.

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-05-15 at 9:47 am

      Lol, bubble water! Actually these “little mochis” work well in savory broth or sweet syrup because they are quite chewy and soft.

  • Reply flickingthevs 2014-05-15 at 2:01 pm

    That’s such clever stuff – I love the sound of jasmine syrup. And sweet potato – I’d love to give that a try in these dumplings.

  • Reply Hannah 2014-05-15 at 6:25 pm

    What a wildly different sort of dessert- I love the fact that you didn’t go down any of the standard sweet routes. You always introduce me to new dishes and ideas, and this recipe doesn’t disappoint. The way it looks reminds me of gnocchi, but for dessert… Sounds wonderful!

  • Reply Nami | Just One Cookbook 2014-05-20 at 9:53 pm

    Congratulations to Ella! She’s beautiful with baby bump! I love tang yuan and how creative this recipe is! Sweet potatoes are my favorite and I love that you used it for making dumplings. Very brilliant!

  • Reply Aimee / 2014-05-21 at 8:22 am

    These sound so wonderful, the FLAVOURS – yum! And the photos are so cheery, I love them :-)

  • Reply East Meets West Veg 2014-05-24 at 3:04 pm

    I feel happy just looking at all the beautiful color in this post. I can not wait to try making this! Congrats Ella!

  • Reply Shundara@savynaturalista 2014-05-31 at 6:38 pm

    I have never had tang yuan before, but I love the color and how it’s so bright and juicy.. Reminds me of mochi! Congrats to Ella :)

  • Reply Emi 2014-06-03 at 8:25 am

    I swoon at this recipe. The tea house you refer to in HK, is that at Lock Cha or at Nan Lian Gardens? If so, I was just there in January for the first time and they were both pretty fantastic (although Lock Cha was my fave of the two). HK is surprisingly vegan friendly.

  • Reply Ong Qian Ying 2014-12-20 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! It’s very delicious but I am wondering if the texture is suppose to be chewy or soft because mine is soft. If it’s suppose to be chewy, may I ask what could I have done wrong?

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-12-21 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Qian Ying! Thanks for dropping by and trying my recipe! The texture should be soft 😉 not too chewy at all! I believe you’ve got it right 😉 The dumplings should be soft in the syrup as well. Happy Holidays!

      • Reply Ong Qian Ying 2014-12-22 at 2:50 am

        Thank you so much for replying :)

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