Today we are going to show you how to make Yuanxiao (or Tangyuan), sticky rice balls. Since you may or may not have the original Chinese cooking devices or ingredients, we are going to show you several ways to make Yuanxiao and some alternative ingredients.
As candy canes are to Christmas, Yuanxiao dumplings are to Lantern Festival, the last day (which falls on the first full moon of the New Year) of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. Lantern Festival has also since commercialized into a sort of Chinese Valentine’s Day. The Chinese believe that the round shape of the Yuanxiao symbolizes family togetherness. By eating the rice balls, they will bring their family happiness and good luck in the New Year. For this reason, Yuanxiao are also served at Chinese weddings and any other occasion of family reunion.