First make the filling. Soak your dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes. Place a small plate on top to ensure they’re fully submerged. Cut the stems off the mushrooms and discard them. Return the mushrooms to the water if they still seem dry inside, since thicker mushrooms will take longer to rehydrate. Finely chop the mushrooms and set aside, reserving the soaking water.
Also soak your dried shrimp in hot water for 30 minutes. Strain and rinse them before chopping them. Rinse the salted preserved radish under running water and pat dry before chopping.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in your wok over medium low heat. Add the dried shrimp and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Next, add the ground pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds, or just until the pork is no longer pink.
Add the chopped Shiitake mushrooms, salted preserved radish, and Shaoxing wine. Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Mix in the sesame oil, salt, sugar, white pepper, oyster sauce, chopped cilantro, chopped scallion and 1 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid.
Cook on medium low heat until simmering, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes, or until about half of the liquid has evaporated. Next, stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until the mixture thickens and all standing liquid cooks off. Set aside, cool, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
While the filling cools, make the dough. Mix 3½ cups glutinous rice flour and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Stir in 1½ cups warm water and mix with chopsticks or a rubber spatula until a dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, simply add more glutinous rice flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball.
Next, pinch off three small pieces of dough to form three balls about 1 inch in diameter. Cook in a small pot of boiling water until they float, about 6 to 7 minutes. Now, add them to the raw dough, kneading them in until the dough is soft and smooth. I have to admit when I did this, I was slightly worried the dough wouldn’t come together, but give it a few minutes of kneading, and it does!
Now, divide the dough into 24 equal pieces about 32 grams each (a digital kitchen scale helps to ensure each is the same size), Keep them covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel to prevent drying while assembling your Savory Tang Yuan.
Take your filling out of the refrigerator, stirring it to redistribute the ingredients. There should be no visible liquid, and the filling should be somewhat dry.
Use your fingers to form each dough ball into a round disc. Spoon about 1 tablespoon (15 g) of filling on the center of the disc. Use the spoon to lightly pack the filling so there are no air pockets. Fold over the edges of the dough to close the tang yuan, lightly pressing in the savory filling if needed. If the dough breaks, you can use a small piece of dough to patch it, using a little dab of glutinous rice flour and water to spackle it back together. Keep a small bowl of both handy for this purpose.
Next, gently roll the tang yuan between the palms of your hands to shape it into a uniform round ball. Set your finished tang yuan on a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour. Repeat this process until you have made all of the savory tang yuan. You’ll need another clean, damp kitchen cloth to cover them. Repeat these steps until you’ve assembled all the tang yuan.
To cook the tang yuan, boil water in a medium pot (you’ll need at least a 4” depth of water). Use a slotted spoon to gently lower the tang yuan into the boiling water, stirring so they don’t have a chance to stick to the pot. Don’t overfill your pot, as this makes it difficult to cook the tang yuan evenly. Lower the heat to a slow boil.
Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until your Savory Tang Yuan float to the top, stirring periodically.
Spoon your savory tang yuan into bowls with some of the cooking water. Add seasonings like sesame oil, salt, and scallions and/or cilantro to taste.
Recipe makes 2 dozen tang yuan.To freeze, place all of the assembled tang yuan on a parchment-lined baking sheet so they are not touching. Cover the baking sheet tightly (we use plastic grocery bags for this purpose), and freeze solid. Once the tang yuan are fully frozen, transfer to freezer bags and return to the freezer for use later!