Savory Tang Yuan (pork-filled mochi dumplings)

In Chinese culture, tang yuan 汤圆, mochi-like glutinous rice dumplings, are often eaten during the holidays as a symbol of family unity and harmony. Most tang yuan are sweet and filled with things like red paste or sesame paste, and can be found in the freezer section of Chinese grocery stores. However, I prefer the plain, unfilled ones, or savory! The first (and only time!) I’ve seen savory tang yuan was from a restaurant in my hometown which sold frozen pork tang yuan during the pandemic. Sadly, they no longer sell them, so I tried to make them myself!

I used (makes about 25-30 mochi dumplings):

  • 3 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1 1/3 cup room temp water
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • greens of 1/2 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp neutral oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar

For the soup (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground white pepper
  • boiling hot water, roughly 1-1.5 cups (I use water from cooking the dumplings)
  • scallions

To make:

  • add all ingredients (other than glutinous rice flour and water) to a bowl and mix well until the ground pork has a sticky-like together
  • once well-combined, microwave a dollop of filling in the microwave for about ~30-40 seconds until it’s fully cooked, sample, and adjust filling to taste (it should be on the slightly saltier side to balance out the wrapper)
  • make the dough by slowly combining glutinous rice flour and water until all flour has been incorporated and can be formed into the dough
  • at this point the dough should be tacky but not sticky, knead it out a few times
  • divide the dough into evenly sized portions (you can make them however big you’d personally like, just not too small to make the folding process easier, I go for slightly smaller than a ping pong ball)
  • flatten the dough and press it out into a large circle, pressing a little extra on the edges so they are thinner
  • add in filling, bring the edges into touch until the filling is enclosed, and roll the ball out to smooth
  • to cook: bring a pot of water to a boil and add in pork tang yuan and bring to a boil. Add half a cup of cold water and bring to a second boil until all tang yuan are afloat. Strain and rinse with cold water.
  • I have not yet tried freezing these, but I believe they can be frozen like dumplings (take this with a grain of salt!). Place the wontons flat on a tray/plate and let them freeze for 1-2 hours. Remove from plate and store in a plastic bag for future eats. If you do try this, let me know how it turns out!
  • serve in soup + enjoy!

Other dumplings to try: