Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter Solstice and Sticky Balls in the UK.

Today, 22nd December is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This is what wikipedia has to say on winter solstice:

In astronomy, the winter solstice is the moment when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the Sun. This causes the Sun to appear at its farthest below the celestial equator when viewed from the northern hemisphere. Solstice is a Latin borrowing and means "sun stand", referring to the appearance that the Sun's noontime elevation change stops its progress, either northerly or southerly. The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

In the Chinese calendar, the winter solstice too marks midwinter and is called dōng zhì (冬至, "winter's extreme"). It is traditionally regarded as one of the year's most important jiéqìs (solar terms), comparable to Chinese New Year.

Personally, I never really appreciate and observe this occasion back in Malaysia. Would even skip eating those calorie-rich sticky balls. But now, leaving the comfort zone, I am craving for the sticky balls! Yeah...just what you need- steamy heart-warming and sweet balls in the midst of a cold winter.

So, I made a trip to the Chinese supermarket here to search for those nasty calorie-rich sticky balls or tang yuen. To my surprise, I found that it was extensively refurbished and relocated since I made a visit to there quite sometime ago (coz I have luggage loads of food from Malaysia already mah-why waste money?). It was very impressive and spacious, with a modern and lively environment (sori, no pics here). Headed straight away to the frozen food section and found what I wanted-sticky balls.

Bought back home and cooked them:

First, bring the water to boil and throw in some ginger slices:

I bought two packets of them: peanut and red bean fillings, with 10 balls each:

Notice the plastic bag underneath them? Couldn't that be more deragatory enough for its colour? Why? Why all all colours in the world-YELLOW? Royally? NO!

Throw in the frozen balls and bring it to boil from this... this, and add sugar to taste.

Float, float, sticky balls, gently in the pot.

The peanut filling...

Notice the muddy soup? Yeah...a few balls burst...

...and the red bean filling

Mmm...the red bean filling definitely tastes better.

Now, I still have a pot-full of those sticky balls. Anyone mind taking some of them?

Oh, btw, have you seen Life Made Simple a.k.a. Ah Wong's Story? Yeah...those sticky balls were featured in this latest TVB series and they even have the mango filling with mango soup! Mmmmm....

Haven't illegally downloaded rented them? Don't worry. Appearing soon on Astro WLT- a year from now and on 8TV-two years from now.

p.s. Check out my other related post-Ushering the Summer Solstice. Happy Dong Zhi!

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