The way to make tangyuan varies between northern and southern China. The usual method followed in the south is to shape the dough first into small portions, fill each with the preferred filling, and then roll into rounds. In North China, the fillings are pressed into rounds, and roll in a bowl of dry glutinous rice flour.
- In a bowl, stir the instant sesame powder with the peanut butter and some water to make a thick paste. Combine two kinds of rice flour together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, add water gradually and mix until you have a soft dough. Divide dough into 4 equal portions, each about 110 grams.
- Add matcha tea powder to one portion and cacao powder to another. Leave two portions uncoloured. Roll each portion out into a long strip to the same length. Place one white strip on the top of the green tea one, and the other atop the cacao strip. Slice each into two.
- Stack layers, alternating white, green and cacao colours. Slice the stack into the small even portions, each about 16-18 grams. Lightly flatten each piece and place 8-10 grams of filling in the center. Seal and roll it into the ball.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently drop the glutinous rice balls into the pot of boiling water and remove once they float to the top. Tangyuan can be served in either a very simple sugar wateror a bowl of red bean soup.