When I went to China in 1994, we had a marbled pebble (notice the singular), in what-I-remember to be just plain cold water. But the taste was unlike any "tang yuan" I have tasted. It had filling, mine was red bean and my sister's was peanut. And you can just taste the slight flavour of cocoa in it.
After years of pondering what it is, I finally decided to rummage through my souvenirs which I was adamant that I have saved the menu from our banquet in China that fateful night. And there it was, right at the bottom of the menu was the name of the dessert that I had so many moons ago, it was called "Yu Hua Shi Tang Yuan" or Marbled Pebble Tang Yuan. So using my mum's tang yuan recipe, I managed to make my tang yuan and my ninja in the kitchen - see below. Ninja didn't turn out good as he is missing a neck and is way too fat for my liking, so i had to modify him using photo-edit for my blog title. Hehehe
Marble Pebble Tang Yuan
Glutinous rice Flour
Ready-made red bean paste
- Add water and enough glutinous rice flour together to form a pliable dough.
- Divide the dough into half.
- Add in enough cocoa powder to form a chocolatey coloured dough. Add a few sprinkle of water if required.
- Roll both sets of dough into strips and combine together.
- Twist the combined dough.
- Roll the ready-made red bean paste into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
- Pinch enough dough to wrap one ball of red bean paste. Flatten it and wrap the red-bean paste.
- Remove excess dough if necessary.
- Roll the tang yuan into a ball and slightly press it between the palms of your hand to form a pebble shape.
- Drop the tang yuan into boiling hot water and let it boil until the tang yuan floats to the top of the water.
- The tang yuan is ready to be served with a sweet based clear soup (such as sweet potato soup or red/mung bean paste soup) or it can be eaten as is.
- I couldn't taste the cocoa in this recipe, so I recommend a sweeter and stronger tasting powder substitute such as nesquick or milo.
- Also, I would recommend that the ready made pebbles get placed on paper and aired out overnight preferably. Otherwise, if there is too much moisture remaining in the dough, the tang yuan is more 'furry' when cooked.