Eating at home: Winter solstice dinner 2010

Yesterday (Dec 22, 2010) was Winter Solstice Festival or 冬至. For the Chinese, it is an important festival, one where the family gathers to make and eat tang yuan 汤圆 (glutinous rice balls in sweet soup) to symbolize reunion. For this year’s festival, my mom and 2nd brother’s family came over to my home for dinner.

Laying out the dishes

Because it was a rather last-minute arrangement, I only went to the market on the morning of Winter Solstice. Hence, the menu consisted mainly of quick stirfries. No stews or more complicated dishes cos those would take too long to prepare!

Stir-fried prawns & broccoli

I bought these fresh glass prawns at Chinatown market. They were supremely fleshy, sweet, and bouncy!

Stir-fry of chicken, sugar snap peas, baby corn, red pepper, and honshimeiji mushroom

This dish was very easy to execute, and surprisingly well-received! The chicken was pre-marinated in oyster sauce, while the vegetables provided much crunch and natural sweetness.

Sweet & sour fish

Sweet & sour fish is such a crowd favorite, so I figured can’t go wrong with this. I used red garoupa fish fillets for this dish.

Fried sotong (cuttlefish) balls

Haha, I cheated by using frozen cuttlefish balls. But this brand — Seawaves — is good. I also like their prawn balls.

There was also a soup — herbal chicken & Chinese mushroom — brewed for two hours. But I forgot to take a photo of it.

Freshly rolled glutinous rice balls, ready to be boiled!

After we finished eating dinner, the table was cleared and the womenfolk started making tang yuan!

For the filling, Mom made her own special blend of crushed peanut and mashed mung bean. Unorthodox, but nice!

That’s Mom shaping the bean paste into balls, and 2nd Sis-in-law stuffing the paste into the dough. I cooked the rice balls and sweet soup. No, the men didn’t help out.

Freshly cooked, homemade tang yuan beats the frozen variety anytime!

Mom forgot to bring brown sugar, so we made a light sweet soup of rock sugar scented with pandan leaf. The end result was very refreshing.

Hope you had a meaningful Winter Solstice Festival with your family too! 😀



  1. Betty says


    Glad you are back. I really like your mom recipe for tong yuen with the crushed peanut and mung bean and will try it. Here in San Francisco some people use peanut butter mix with power sugar use in tong yuen filling and sometime with coconut flakes too. I also used semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate in mine.
    An ABC recipe.