A vegan-friendly Tang Yuan. One of the most important and meaningful Chinese/Taiwanese desserts, often eaten during Winter Solstice or Lunar New Year.
Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and as per Taiwanese tradition, my family would get together and share a big pot of Tang Yuan. Tang Yuan are glutinous rice balls that come in many faces, many shapes: some are smaller and dyed different colors, some are larger and filled different flavors. We all lead drastically different lives, come from different walks, but none of that seemed to matter at the dinner table. While no longer able to clearly recall the conversations, I could never forget the pure joy biting into freshly cooked black sesame tang yuan, feeling its warmth, and looking up to see everyone’s faces warming up too.
Now in the midst of a pandemic, I found myself making them for the first time, thousands of miles away from home. They are just as I remember: soft and chewy on the outside, oozing with warm, nutty filling on the inside. Their black and white figure remind me, as faded photographs do, those moments lost in time.