22 December is associated with the winter solstice and glutinous rice ball. A day before the winter solstice, you will be able to spot some white and red (in fact, it looked like pink) dough in the wet market. That is used for making glutinous rice ball which is then cooked and served in sugar syrup (white or brown sugar). It can be served in soup – for a salty version. For a filled glutinous rice ball, mix some sesame or peanut powders with sugar and oil/water for the filling.
Here is the basic recipe for making the dough, it is real simple and fast. Get the little ones involved in the process, they will love it and make different colours and sizes (BIG and small) of glutinous rice balls. For fun, I added basil seeds in the sugar syrup which is never present in the traditional version.
Preparation: 15 mins, Cooking time: 10 mins
Ingredients (serves 2)
° 100g glutinous rice flour
° 90-100ml water
° red food colouring
° 500ml water
° 4 pandan leaves (screwpine), tied into a knot
° 1 slice ginger (optional)
° sugar to taste
° ½ -1 teaspoon basil seeds (optional), soaked and drained
° 750ml water, for cooking the glutinous rice balls
1. To make syrup, add the water, pandan leaves, ginger and sugar to a pot. Bring to boil over medium heat and set aside.
2. To make dough, combine the flour and water in a mixing bowl. Mix well, knead into dough and divide into 2 equal portions. Add some red food colouring to one portion and knead well. Add some water if the dough is too dry or some flour if it is too watery. Divide the dough into smaller portions and shape it into a ball using your hand.
3. Bring 750ml of water to boil. Add in glutinous rice balls and return to boil. Remove water the glutinous rice balls with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the surface. Transfer to the sugar syrup.
4. To serve, ladle the glutinous rice balls and syrup into individual serving bowls. Serve hot.