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Glutinous Rice Balls with Black Sesame

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Glutinous rice balls, called Tang Yuan in chinese are traditionally eaten during festivals, such as the lantern festival. However, they have become a year round dessert and evolved into many variations all over asia. In this very popular version the chewy rice balls encase a sweet nutty black sesame mixure, then served in a mildly sweet, ginger soup.

Ingredients (makes approximately 16 balls)

Rice balls
30 gm black sesame seeds
30 gm caster sugar
35 gm softened butter
120gm glutinous rice flour (approx 1 cup)
95 ml warm water 

Ginger Soup
2.5 cups water
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 inch knob of ginger sliced up

Method

Toast sesame seeds until fragrant.

Add toasted sesame, caster sugar and butter to a food processor or blender.
Blend until mixture forms into a paste. Place in refrigerator to firm up.

In the meantime, place water, raw sugar and ginger in a pot. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for 15 minutes.
Once paste has cooled down and is quite hard. Remove from fridge and make into 1.5 cm balls. Place back in fridge. Mix glutinous rice flour with warm water until a dough forms.
Divide the dough and make rough 2 - 2.5 cm balls.

Flatten the dough ball until the dough is about 2 mm thick.
Take sesame balls from the fridge. Place a sesame ball in the centre.
Fold the sides to close the gap. 

Remove excess dough from the  side seams and press to seal.

Roll the ball in your hands until the ball is smooth & even. Continue until all balls have been made.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the balls to the pot. They are ready when they rise to the top. Remove from the pot.
To serve, place the glutinous rice balls in a small bowl. Add enough ginger soup to cover.

The rice balls should be firm but chewy and the sesame paste slightly oozy. Enjoy!

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