Glutinous Rice Balls

Glutinous rice balls in sweet syrup is an Asian dessert usually enjoyed during the Winter Solstice Festival. Also known as 'kuih ee' by the Peranakan community or 'tang yuan' (湯圓) in Mandarin, they are made either plain or with filling.

5 stars

Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 10 mins


Kuih Ee, Tong Yuen, Tang Yuen, 湯圓

Malaysian, Singaporean

Nyonya Cooking on Facebook
Nyonya Cooking on Pinterest
Nyonya Cooking on Twitter

Nutrition per Serving

196 kcal
26 g
9 g
4 g

Basic glutinous rice balls or tang yuan are made out of glutinous rice flour, water and sugar. Sometimes, a slice of ginger is added to the syrup for a hint of spice.

When do people eat tang yuan?

Winter Solstice Festival is regarded as the beginning of a new year and celebrated widely by the Chinese community. The round glutinous rice balls symbolize family unity.

It is even more meaningful to have the whole family gathered together to make these glutinous rice balls. This dessert is also served to the bridal couple during the wedding.

Filling of glutinous rice balls

Traditionally, these glutinous rice balls are made without any filling. In recent years, many types of flavours such as peanuts, Kaya (coconut jam), red bean paste or black sesame have surfaced.

Nonetheless, I am very much conservative when it comes to the originality of this dessert which is to have it plain. However, I do admit that I am quite smitten with those that consist of black sesame too.

How to prepare glutinous rice balls in advanced?

If you are planning to make this a day before, place them on a layer of plastic wrap. Cover the plate of glutinous rice balls with another layer of plastic wrap to prevent them from drying up.

Otherwise, lay the glutinous rice balls on a layer of plastic wrap and freeze them. Remove them from the plastic wrap once they are frozen and store them in an air tight container or plastic food bags.


50 g
black sesame seeds
15 g
20 g
15 g
unsalted butter
100 g
glutinous rice flour
food coloring
500 ml
pandan leaves
1 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Glutinous Rice Balls Step 1

Step 1 of 5

    • 50 g black sesame seeds
    • 15 g nuts
    • 20 g sugar

Toast black sesame seeds and nuts until they produce a faint nutty smell. Once the black sesame seeds and nuts cool to room temperature, blend them along with sugar roughly.

Glutinous Rice Balls Step 2

Step 2 of 5

    • 15 g unsalted butter

Mix room temperature butter into the blended mixture. Then, roll black sesame mixture into small balls. Set aside.

Glutinous Rice Balls Step 3

Step 3 of 5

    • water
    • 100 g glutinous rice flour
    • food coloring

To make the dough, knead flour and water together. Optionally, divide dough into portions and add 1-2 drops of different food colouring respectively.

Glutinous Rice Balls Step 4

Step 4 of 5

Roll the dough into small balls. Flatten the dough to wrap the black sesame mixture.

Glutinous Rice Balls Step 5

Step 5 of 5

Prepare syrup by boiling water, pandan leaves and sugar. Once it boils, add the glutinous rice balls and cook till they float.

Published: December 17, 2013

2 Discussions

3 years ago


Hi if i want to add in red bean or peanut filling how do I do so?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
3 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Shape the red bean paste before wrapping. For peanut filling, you can just replace black sesame with peanuts. Blend them to your desired texture after toasting, as per step 1.

4 years ago


jow mich water to mix in with the rice flour?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

About 4-5 tablespoons of water. Add or reduce as you go along. The dough should be pliable.

Give us your opinion! Log in and start posting.