Today's post is about the Lantern Festival. Celebrated on the 15th day of the first month in the Lunisolar year (usually February/March in the Gregorian calendar), the Lantern Festival marks the end of the lunar New Year celebrations in China. During this time, participants light a lantern and let it float off into the night sky. Many people have their own symbolism for this event, but some view this as an act of letting go of their past self and preparing for a new self. The lanterns can be of all shapes and sizes, but the most common color is red for good fortune.
One of the most common foods prepared for this celebration goes by two names: Tangyuan (if you are in the North) and Yuanxiao (if you are in the South). Whichever name you would like to go by, this is a delicious treat that is basically a rice dumpling in a sweet broth.
|Recipe and Picture Link|
- 1/2 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 3 slices ginger
- rock sugar
- Black Sesame Filling
- Grind the sesame seeds into a fine powder (a coffee grinder works well). A paste should form from the ground sesame seeds. Mix with the sugar and butter.
- Roll the mixture into small balls, about ½ in diameter. Freeze on a plastic wrap-lined cookie sheet for at least 1 hour, until the balls have solidified.
- Mix the flour with 1 cup cold water, until a soft dough is formed. Knead together until smooth. Keep covered until ready to use.
- Take a small piece of dough, flour lightly, and pat into a round disk. Place the sesame seed ball in the centre, and gently pinch and roll the dough around the ball. You should not be able to see the sesame through the dough. Add more dough if needed.
- Once all the Tang Yuan have been formed, cook immediately or freeze on a plastic wrap-lined cookie sheet.
- In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ginger slices and rock sugar, to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, then drop in the Tang Yuan. Maintain at a gentle boil. They will be ready once they are translucent and have floated to the top.
- Serve with the ginger syrup.