Marx Foods and the Foodie Blogroll made it all possible by chosing me and 24 other challengers to compete in the Marx Foods, Iron Foodie Challenge. Awarded a treasure box full of gourmet goodies, the challengers were directed to get creative and come up with a recipe using at least 3 of the 8 Marx Foods ingredients.
I knew that creating a signature dish with such a diverse array of gourmet items would be daunting, but taking the journey to find the perfect recipe for this challenge was very fulfilling.
With the Holidays just around the corner I thought it fitting to prepare a dish that was in essence, celebratory. One that would speak to the festive nature of the season. This is why I chose, Tang Yuan as my signature dish.
Tang Yuan is a Chinese dish, traditionally eaten during the Chinese Lantern Festival; the first full moon day of the Chinese lunar year. According to Chinese Tradition it is eaten with family members during Winter Solstice Festival and on other special occasions. source: Wikipedia
Although, I celebrate the Holiday’s as a Christan, I thought Tang Yuan a perfect choice for the competition for it’s symbolism of reunion, and as a historic meal, meant to be shared with family and close friends.
Tang Yuan are made with glutinous rice flour, served in hot broth that can be sweet or savory and can be either be made small or large and stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory ingredients. Other Asian cultures have similar dishes that vary in flavor from region to region.
This is where I need to ask for lenience, as I’m not familiar with the Chinese etiquette surrounding this recipe. I’ve taken a lot of liberties with my version of the dish and hope not to offend!
I’ve never made or tasted Tang Yuan, so despite the nagging voice in my head, telling me that I was only going to get one chance to get this recipe right, I decided to commit to the challenge. I’m very thankful I did because my Tang Yuan was a delicious success.
My personal review of my completed Iron Foodie 2010 signature dish…
The broth was full bodied and fragrant from the Pandan Leaves, with just enough kick from the Aji Panca Chile to make my nose run! The dried Wild Porcini added a rich woody flavor which balanced beautifully with the Smoked Salt and Maple Sugar. The Dulse Seaweed was light, adding it’s delicate aroma to the mix. The Glutinous Rice Balls were mild and chewy, leaving my “starch-buds” thoroughly satisfied. The filling was sweet and salty with a mild smokiness from the Sea Salt and layers and layers of flavor.
I loved this challenge for bringing another wonderful cooking experience into my kitchen!!
Spicy Porcini Broth
3 cups boiling water
2-14 ounce cans chicken broth or homemade stock
10 slices fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
I had never heard of Pandan Leaves so I was a little worried about shopping for my ingredients. Fortunately, the Asian market I went to had very knowledgeable employees. I was directed to the freezer section and shown a plastic bag filled with a green thick, reed type plant. Written on the package was the other name for Pandan Leaves…”Screw Pine Leaves”! What? If it weren’t for one very knowledgeable and helpful employee, I wouldn’t have found the fragrant leaves. I was also informed by the young man that Pandan Leaves were used in Thai foods more than Chinese cuisine. I did a little more research and found that Pandan leaves are more of a novelty to Tang Yuan and that they are more widely used in Malaysian cooking. Still, I wouldn’t omit them after tasting the broth! They are delicious!
using 3 separate bowls, pour 1 cup each boiling water, over dried porcini mushrooms, aji panca chile and seaweed, soak for 15 minutes add to a large stock pot, thinly sliced fresh ginger, whole tellichery pepper corns and 2 bundles Pandan/Screw Pine leaves. Add the soaking liquid from mushrooms, chili and seaweed into the stock pot, straining the solids to keep the broth as clear as possible, add 2 cans chicken stock. Cook broth on the stove top on medium high heat to allow flavors to expand, keep hot until ready to use
Smokey Hoisin Pork Filling
1 1/2 pound shaved pork loin
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup premium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Maple Sugar
1 tablespoons rice wine
1 teaspoon Nira Chive
(can be found in any Asian Market in the produce section)
2 pinch Smoked Sea Salt
reconstituted Aji Panca Chile, chopped fine
reconstituted Dried Wild Porcini, chopped fine
reconstituted Dulse Seaweed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Thinly shave pork add next 11 ingredients and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, mix to incorporate
Finely chop reconstituted wild porcini mushrooms and aji panca chile, add to pork mixture. The reconstituted Dulse Seaweed, will be very soft and resemble a paste, add to pork and stir to combine
Add remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large saute pan or Wok, toast sesame seeds until lightly brown, about 1-2 minutes, add pork and cook on medium high heat until all liquid is absorbed, remove meat from pan and cool on a cutting board.
Finely chop meat, refrigerate until ready to use
Glutinous Rice Balls
6 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1/4 cup boiling water
Heat 6 cups of water in a large stock pot on medium high heat, in a medium boil mix together 1 cup of rice flour with 1/4 cup hot water, mix with a spoon until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, add more flour if the dough is too sticky, separate dough into two pieces, cover one piece with a damp towel, pinch off enough dough to roll into 1 inch size balls, rest the ball in palm of hand and pinch into a bowl, leaving the bottom of the ball thicker than the sides, repeat with remaining dough.
Fill bowl with pork mixture and work dough to cover the pork and roll into smooth balls, recipe will make about 10-12 balls. Cook rice balls in boiling water for 8-12 minutes, or until they begin to float, strain off excess water
Prepare soup bowls with garnish of chopped nira chive, red bell pepper and a few brown beech mushrooms.
Add three or four rice balls to each bowl, and cover with seaweed broth.
Start a new tradition this Holiday Season and serve Tang Yuan to your family and friends and enjoy reunion with a shared meal and a pipping hot cup of tea.
Thank you Foodie Blogroll and Marx Foods