• Black sesame tangyuan (Adam Liaw)Source: Adam Liaw

Traditionally eaten at the end of Chinese New Year, my grandmother taught me to make these delicious sweet glutinous rice flour dumplings. Destination Flavour China 






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (24 votes)


  • 60 g black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 125 g (½ cup) lard or butter, softened
  • 250 g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbsp potato flour
  • red food colouring, optional


  • 180 g sugar
  • 2 cm piece ginger, sliced and bruised 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 15 mins

1. Place the black sesame seeds and sugar in a spice grinder or small food processor bowl and grind to a powder.

2. Add the lard or butter and pulse until the mixture comes together into a paste.

3. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up. Roll ½ teaspoons of the paste into small balls.

4. Meanwhile, combine the glutinous rice flour and potato flour in a large bowl. Stirring continuously, add cold water, one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms (it will take about 5 tablespoons of water).

5. If colouring the dough, add enough food colouring to give the dumplings the colour you want.

6. Pinch off a teaspoon-sized piece of dough and flatten into a round in the palm of your hand. Use the dough to encase a ball of sesame paste, re-shape the ball and set aside until ready to cook.

7. For the syrup, place the sugar, ginger and 1.5 litres of water in a wide saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the ginger is infused. Keep the syrup at a gentle simmer while you cook the dumplings.

8. To cook the dumplings, bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Cook the dumplings, in batches for about 20 seconds each to remove the excess starch.

9. Transfer the dumplings immediately to the simmering syrup and simmer for 2 minutes or until they float to the surface.

10. Serve with the syrup.  


Photography by Adam Liaw.

Destination Flavour China with Adam Liaw airs 7.30pm, Wednesday on SBS and then on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.