The Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese during the Dongzhi solar term (winter solstice) on or around December 22 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. This year, it occurs on 21 December 2012.
Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. I still remember every year without fail, my mum would make tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice. She would put red food colouring into the glutinous rice flour and mix with water. Once it was mixed, she would roll it into small flour balls and cook it in the boiling water with pandan leaves.
Before we were allowed to eat the tangyuan, my mum would offer it to our Buddha with fruits, food, incense paper and joss stick. Each family member would have to eat at least one tangyuan, which symbolize reunion. Both of my sisters never liked to eat them but for me, I would finish every single tangyuan my mum cooked.
This festive food also symbolises that we are now a year older instead of waiting for the Chinese New Year to come. This year is my first year making tangyuan for my children. Firstly, I mixed the glutinous rice flour with water into a flour dough with different colour food dye to make it more interesting. Roll it in my hand into a small flour balls. I like it to be a mini ball as it will easy for my children to eat. They can be quite sticky to chew.
Once cooked in boiling water, they are sieved out and coated with peanut powder. I bought the peanut powder from Singapore. It is quite easy to make if you can not find it in a Chinese supermarket in UK. Crush some roasted peanuts and add sugar to taste. I like to eat my tangyuan this way and my family love it too.