With such a simple recipe, we can keep our tradition alive by preparing this traditional cuisine at home.
How old were you when you started cooking? 20 years old
Personal wish related to cooking: I wish my family members will miss my home-cooked food when I am no longer with them.
Kenneth Goh , Personal chef to my wife and children
I used to help my late parents prepare Tang Yuan for the Winter Solstice festivals every year. My mum would ground the glutinous rice grains and prepare these simple Tang Yuan early in the morning of the Festival as offering to the gods in the temples. There were usually only two colours, white and red. 80% were prepared in bigger white balls, whereas the remaining 20% were smaller red balls. A bowl containing both types of Tang Yuan would be offered during the prayers.
After the offering in the temple, my mum would prepare sweet soup for the Tang Yuan and it was compulsory for everyone in the family to have at least one bowl. This was to signify that you have grown another year and it was time to get ready for the next year. If there was leftover Tang Yuan, my father would use them to cook a savoury version.
With the affluence of our society, most families have come to expect fillings in Tang Yuan. I have modified my mum’s recipe by adding red bean paste as the filling. I use pumpkin to soften the texture of the Tang Yuan and to add a splash of colour. When served, the Tang Yuan look like golden balls.
With such a simple recipe, we can keep our tradition alive by preparing this traditional cuisine at home. I enjoy cooking this dish with my kids. Through our cooking sessions, I am able to reinforce our traditional Chinese values and give our traditional cuisines a new look.