Tangyuan (sometimes romanized as "tang yuan" and called "yangxiao" in some regions) is a simple dessert dish. In China, people eat these dumpling-like balls made from glutenous rice flour during wintertime festivals such as the Winter Solstice and the Lunar New Year. Though deep-fried varieties also exist, tangyuan is usually served hot in a sweetened broth. The round balls come with different types of filling, and some cooks even serve them unfilled. If you bite into a piece of tangyuan, you may find sweet potato, azuki bean paste, sesame paste or jelly in the middle.
The rice balls themselves are easy to make. The dough consists of glutenous rice flour and water. The fillings need to be mashed into a paste and sweetened before you fold them into the middle of the dough and boil the resulting combination. Asian grocery stores often sell frozen and pre-made tangyuan, especially in December and January ahead of the solstice and new year festivities.