I once made some black sesame-filled hotteok, the filling reminding me of black sesame tang yuan. Getting a bit topsy-turvy, here is the inverse: a tang yuan with a brown sugar, walnut and cinnamon filling inspired by hotteok!
To go with it: a soup inspired by sujeonggwa, a Korean punch made with cinnamon, ginger and usually red dates and dried persimmons. As I already had cinnamon in the filling, I focused on the ginger, persimmon and red dates. It’s a cozy, wintery take on tang yuan and wonderfully warming!
brown sugar walnut tang yuan with persimmon ginger soup
persimmon ginger broth
- 1 3/4 cups water
- a few slices fresh ginger
- 4 dried red dates
- 2 dried persimmons, cut into wedges or chunks
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
hotteok tang yuan filling
- 15g all-purpose flour
- 30g brown sugar
- 30g butter, lard or coconut oil, melted
- `1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 generous tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
tang yuan dough
- 100g glutinous rice flour
- 75-95g lukewarm water
- 1/2 tsp oil
For the broth, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then cover and set aside to steep while you make the tang yuan.
For the filling, place the flour in a small dry pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour smells a bit toasted and cooked, around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl. Add the brown sugar, melted butter/lard/coconut oil, cinnamon, salt and chopped walnuts. Stir together, then place in the fridge to firm up.
Once firmed, divide the filling into 12 portions (about 6g each) and roll each into a little ball. Return to the fridge to keep firm until ready to assemble. (Initially I did roll mine in more rice flour as seen in the photographs, but I found it easier to assemble the tang yuan without doing that.)
For the dough, stir together the rice flour, water and oil. Begin with 75g of water and add more as needed to form a soft dough with a putty-like consistency. Divide the dough into 12 portions (about 16-17g apiece) and roll each into a ball.
To assemble, take the filling from the fridge. Poke your thumb into a ball of dough to create a cup like shape and fill with a portion of filling. Push the surrounding bits of dough up to completely cover the filling and roll between your palms into a smooth sphere. If the dough starts to crack a bit, moisten your palms with a dab of water. Repeat with the remaining portions until all the tang yuan are filled.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Drop in the tang yuan, bring back to a boil and then set to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tang yuan are soft and the filling is melted. Meanwhile, reheat the persimmon ginger soup.
To serve, scoop 2-3 tang yuan into a bowl and cover with a ladleful or two of the warm soup.