The best part about eating traditional Taiwanese and Chinese foods is the variety of options that one has to pick from when it comes to eating entrees, desserts, and any other type of food. There are so many tastes, smells, and textures of food that I haven’t even tried yet. Each city in Taiwan and province in China has its own esoteric dishes that are unique to the area. This is why there are so many kinds of food, culture, and language in both countries. The dessert that I am highlighting today is the black sesame tangyuan.
Black sesame tangyuan is made up of many ingredients: glutinous rice flour, black sesame seeds, butter, and granulated rock sugar.
– The sesame seeds are grinded into a fine powder (a paste should form from the powder), mix the paste with the granulated sugar and butter, and this combination creates the black sesame filling of the dessert.
-For the dough, mix the flour with one cup of water until a soft dough is formed. Flatten the dough out until it is completely smooth. Keep the dough refrigerated and covered until it is ready to be used.
– When ready, flatten a piece of dough into a small disk, add a small ball of sesame filling, and roll the mixture into a ball (pictured above).
– Bring a small pot of water to a boil and gently drop the pre-made sesame balls into the pot. Allow the black sesame tang-yuan to be cooked for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is softened. Serve and enjoy!
An interesting fact about this sweet treat is that sesame tang-yuan desserts are served year-round and are most prominent at the end of the Chinese New Year. The dessert marks the end of the festival and the start of a prosperous new year.
Whenever I had eaten tangyuan as a child, there was never any real special occasion (I guess we loved the dessert that much). Instead of eating homemade black sesame tangyuan, we would normally buy pre-made, frozen, and packaged tangyuan straight from our local Asian grocery store. I never would complain though because it tasted as satisfying as anything else that I had eaten. My parents had always warned me to eat the black sesame balls gently to ensure that not all of the sesame juices would flow out after my first bite. If you do not eat the outer glutinous layer in conjunction with the sesame filling, the dessert will taste bland. The two tastes and textures complement each other perfectly. The glutinous rice layer on the outside can vary from normal white rice, to purple jasmine rice, and even brown rice.