black sesame tang yuan

tang yuan (湯圓) is a very traditional chinese dessert. it’s usually eaten when families gather for a reunion or certain holidays. the spherical shape represents the togetherness of the family, sort of like coming full circle. there are several types of fillings for tang yuan, such as red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar, and even plain granulated sugar. we are making this recipe with black sesame paste. you can buy the black sesame paste in the store. but we are doing it from scratch.

tang yuan

black sesame seeds 1 cup (240 g)
oil 6 tablespoon
sesame oil 1 tablespoon
sugar 2 tablespoon
salt 1 pinch
glutinous flour 1 cup (240 g)
cold water 3/4 cup (180 g)

ginger soup

ginger 1 inch nub
chinese cane sugar 1 brick or brown sugar 1/4 cup (60 g)

  • lightly toast the black sesame seeds on a pan
  • grind them in a small blender until fine like sand (or if you want a workout then use a pestle and mortar)
  • add sugar, salt, and oil, blend well until they bind into a paste
  • scoop all the sesame paste onto a plate into a teaspoon sized ball
  • put them in the freezer for at least an hour to set
  • in a bowl, slowly pour the cold water into the glutinous flour while mixing with a spoon
  • the pastry is at the right consistency when it doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore, it should feel a bit dry
  • roll a tablespoon of pastry into a ball in the palm of your hands
  • press a hole with your thumb in the middle and put the sesame filling in it
  • gently close the opening with the edge of the pastry
  • shape it into a ball
  • put the tang yuan on a plate brushed with a layer of oil to prevent sticking
  • boil 1/2 liter of water with the ginger and cane sugar
  • cook the tang yuan into the ginger soup for 5 min
chinese cane sugar

chinese cane sugar

black sesame paste as filling

black sesame paste as filling

press a hole in the ball of pastry and put the sesame filling in the middle

press a hole in the ball of pastry and put the sesame filling in the middle

golf ball size

golf ball size

classic dessert for chinese new year's eve and birthdays

classic dessert for chinese new year’s eve and birthdays



the really traditional ones that i like making at home is to use cane sugar as the filling instead. break the big piece of cane sugar into dice-sized pieces and follow the same instructions as above. you could also use peanut butter, red bean paste or taro paste – basically anything you like. fusion it up!

the use of black sesame paste is versatile. i also used it to make black sesame soup (芝麻糊), by adding glutinous rice flour, sugar and water. the proportion of black sesame paste to glutinous rice flour is 3:1. add water until desired consistency and sugar till desired sweetness.

another classic chinese dessert

another classic chinese dessert


8 responses to “black sesame tang yuan

  1. Pingback: sweet potato dessert soup | Homemade in Hong Kong·

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