Qing Tuan / Spring Dumplings (青团)

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Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 1 Hr Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 20 Mins

青团 (qing tuan), literally translated to green lumps, are beautiful round dumplings associated with the Qing Ming festival. These glutinous rice flour dumplings were traditionally coloured and flavoured with the juice of 艾草 (ai cao) or Chinese mugwort. Chinese mugwort leaves are gathered on a warm dry day in early spring, so they are usually only available around Qing Ming in early April.

Because of the popularity of these dumplings, they are now available in China all year round. However, instead of using Chinese mugwort, wheatgrass or matcha is used. Here in the Philippines, I used fresh pandan instead. The traditional filling for qing tuan is sweet red bean paste. These days, you can get all varieties of fillings such as lotus seed, black sesame, salted egg, even pork floss. I filled mine with sweet mung bean / green bean paste.

The process of making these dumplings is a little bit finicky and you have to have some level of confidence working with dough. I include the instructions on how to make the filling from scratch, but you can buy pre-made bean paste instead!

These dumplings are chewy but not overly sticky with a slightly sweet filling. The pandan adds a lovely fragrance too. These are best eaten on the day they are made, as the dough doesn’t keep well in the fridge. As with the philosophy of Spring, carpe diem!

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Ingredients

0/11 Ingredients
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    Green Bean Filling
  • Dough

Instructions

0/12 Instructions
    Green Bean Filling
  • Soak the green beans for at least 2 hours until soft. Drain and steam through a cheesecloth for 20 minutes.
  • The steamed green beans should be very soft by now. Blend them and mix with half of the oil in a pan. (Heat off)
  • Turn the heat on low. Add the sugar, the other half of the oil, the water, and mix well. Stir continuously as it reduces.
  • When the stuffing sticks together easily, it is done. Rest to room temperature. I don't know exactly how much stuffing this makes because I ate a lot of it with a spoon.
  • Dough
  • Blend 5 pandan leaves with 170ml of water. Squeeze the pulp out as hard as you can through a strainer to get as much juice as possible.
  • Put the wheat starch in a heat-proof bowl. Heat 100ml of water to boiling. Pour the boiling water over the wheat starch, stirring continuously until all the wheat starch has turned translucent.
  • Mix the flour well with sugar and oil. Add the green juice, mix well. Add the wheat starch, mix well, and start to knead.
  • Knead thoroughly to combine, making sure the lumpy bits of wheat starch are broken down.
  • Divide your dough into 24 pieces and roll into balls. Roll out 24 (2/3 size) balls of stuffing.
  • Flatten each dough ball and wrap around a ball of filling, making sure it is nice and round.
  • Press down gently on the balls a little so they get a bit of a button shape. Steam from boiling for 10 minutes. Do not steam longer than that as the dough will over-expand, start to collapse, and lose its sheen.
  • Rest for 15 minutes. Then serve. Eat within the day!

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