Shancheng Small Sweet Dumplings (Xiao Tang Yuan)

shancheng small sweet dumplings

Shancheng Small Sweet Dumplings, also known as “山城小汤圆” in Chinese, stand as a distinctive and traditional snack from Chongqing, China. Renowned for their petite size, delicate skin, generous fillings, and delightful sweetness, these dumplings are a testament to the culinary expertise of the region. Crafted with ingredients like lard, powdered sugar, and black sesame powder, Shancheng Small Sweet Dumplings have become a beloved treat among locals and visitors alike.

The process begins with selecting plump glutinous rice, meticulously cleaning away impurities, and soaking it in water for 3 to 7 days. Once the rice has absorbed the water, it is ground into rice paste using a stone mill. The resulting rice paste is then suspended in a white cloth bag to dry. The next step involves choosing tender pork lard, cutting it into granules, and roasting black sesame seeds until fragrant. After removing the outer skin of the sesame seeds, they are ground into a fine powder. Walnut kernels are soaked in hot water, peeled, fried until crispy in pig oil, and then crushed. Powdered sugar is prepared by grinding granulated sugar.

The filling is created by blending processed pork lard, powdered sugar, and black sesame powder, forming a square block. This block is then sliced, sprinkled with crushed walnut kernels, and cut into small pieces, which are then rolled into round dumpling centers. The dumpling wrappers are made by kneading the dried rice paste with a small amount of water. Thin wrappers are pinched using the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of the left hand, with the right hand placing the dumpling filling in the center before sealing the edges. The result is a rounded and filled dumpling ready for cooking.

To cook Shancheng Small Sweet Dumplings, a large pot of water is brought to a boil. Once boiling, the dumplings are added. It’s essential to maintain a moderate heat, occasionally adding cold water to regulate the temperature, preventing excessive boiling. The dumplings are considered ready when they float to the water’s surface, and a brief float indicates they are perfectly cooked and ready to be served in a bowl.

These small sweet dumplings represent not just a culinary delight but also a cultural tradition deeply rooted in the heart of Chongqing. With their intricate preparation process and delightful taste, Shancheng Small Sweet Dumplings capture the essence of the region’s culinary craftsmanship and are a delightful treat for those seeking a taste of Chongqing’s culinary heritage.

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