Lantern Festival Sticky Pounded Rice Dumplings with Osmanthus Flowers

15 minutes
to prep

30 minutes
to cook

4 servings

About this Recipe

This dish is traditionally eaten with family on the 15th day after the Lunar New Year. Each sticky rice dumpling for certain Chinese holidays has its own name. In Mandarin, this dumpling is sometimes called yuanxiao (元宵) for the Lantern Festival in Northern China. On Winter Solstice Day, it’s called tangyuan (湯園), which is what most people I know call it. 

Photo and Recipe Courtesy of Jessian Choy



  • 5 cups water
  • 3-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of sweetener (I use sugar-free monk fruit, a fruit grown in China) 


  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • ¾ cup room-temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon sweet osmanthus flower (guìhuā 桂花, sometimes called “sweet olive”)


Prepare soup:

  1. Put ginger in a covered pot with 5 cups of water. 
  2. Add preferred sweetener.
  3. Turn on high heat. Once water boils, turn heat to medium.

Prepare dough:

  1. Put ¾ cup of flour in a bowl.
  2. Add room-temperature water and stir.
  3. Knead with hands until smooth and divide into 12 equal portions.

– If the dough is too dry or cracking, add a teaspoon of room-temperature water at a time and knead the dough gently until it is soft and not sticky. 

– If the dough sticks to your fingers, add one teaspoon of glutinous rice flour at a time and gently knead the dough until it is soft and not sticky. 

Cook dumplings:

  1. After the soup has simmered for at least 15 minutes, remove ginger from the soup with a ladle spoon.
  2. Gently lower balls into boiling water, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to each other or the pot. 
  3. Lower the heat to a slow boil and cook for about 6 minutes or until your balls float to the top, stirring periodically.
  4. Turn off heat and add osmanthus flowers. Let steep for 3 minutes while soup cools.
  5. With a soup spoon, ladle soup and balls into serving bowls.


  • If you have leftover uncooked dumplings, freeze them in a container. Gently reboil them until they float.

  • If you have leftover cooked dumplings, refrigerate and consume within four days by gently reboiling them until they’re warm.