Here’s a healthier recipe for Lunar New Year’s: tofu glutinous rice balls! Known as Tang Yuan in China, Gyeongdan in Korea, and Dango in Japan, these chewy, round balls are often a part of the New Years’ celebration and are said to bring good luck.
What are Glutinous Rice Balls Made of?
Traditionally, these rice balls are made with sweet rice flour, sugar and water. These tofu glutinous rice balls, on the other hand, incorporate mashed tofu into the sweet rice flour and has more nutrition (protein and fiber). The best part? it’s only made using 3 ingredients and can be prepared in under 30 minutes. Perfect for those on a gluten-free, vegan or nut-free diet.
Ingredients Used to Make Tofu Tang Yuan / Dango
**I’ve linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
Tofu – high in protein and nutrient-dense, tofu contains minerals such as calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, as well as B vitamins. It’s also a “complete protein” because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. A ½ cup serving of firm tofu provides around 8 grams of protein. Definitely a keeper.
Update: The best tofu for this recipe is silken tofu, which you can find in most Asian grocery stores. You can also buy them online, here
- Glutinous Rice Flour – this goes by many names. You’ll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. ***Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
Sugar– while you can use any granulated sugar of choice, for this I would recommend that you use a light colored sugar such as raw cane sugar, monk fruit sweetener or honey powder
How to Make
How to Make Tofu Glutinous Rice Balls
Mix the mashed silken tofu with the rest of the ingredients
Knead until smooth
Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls
Boil in water, and drop into an ice bath once they start to float
The step-by-step details on the boiling/ cooking process is posted in my Sweet Potato Dango Recipe post! Check it out below:
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Other than coloring you can also add different flavorings to the dough before cooking. For example, you can add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon or Cardamom Powder. They’re not typically added in a traditional recipe, but you’re welcome to experiment!
More Tofu Recipes
What are some ways you can eat Tofu Glutinous Rice Balls?
- In a bowl, plain and warm, served with honey or brown sugar syrup. Chocolate syrup works, too!
- Skewered through wooden sticks
How to Store
- Once the tofu dango have been cooked, they can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. For longer storage, I would freeze the individual dango balls in a plastic freezer bag or an airtight container, then reboil them when ready to eat.
- The reason I don’t recommend storing them in the fridge is that these dango balls tend to develop a weird waxy, hard texture when stored in the fridge. So eat within a day or freeze for best results.
- Boiling time (as well as serving size) will vary based on the size of the tofu dango balls as well as how crowded they are when they’re in the boiling water. Before you remove the dango balls out of the water, do a quick doneness check by taking out one dango ball and use a knife to cut it in half. Be sure the insides are cooked through before you take the rest of them out of the pot.
More Dango Recipes You’ll Love
Tofu Glutinous Rice Balls Recipe (Tofu Dango, Tofu Tang Yuan)
- Mash the tofu using a fork so that it becomes smooth without any big chunks
- Mix the mashed tofu with sugar and mochiko flour until a smooth dough forms
- Roll the dough into 1-2 tablespoon sized balls. Set aside.
- Bring a quart of water to boil. While the water is boiling, prepare a bowl of ice water
- Add the mochi balls (dango) into the boiling water, preferably in small batches, and let cook until the dango floats up– about 3-5 minutes
- Use a sieve to transfer the cooked dango into the ice water bath and let cool
- Once they're cool, you can transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!