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The Immortality Pill

Spice Adventurer's picture
By Spice Adventurer, 07/10/2018 - 06:00

A folktale about the white snake in the Chinese legend of the white snake spirit that accidentally ate the immortality pill from the young man who luckily bought this pill from one of the eight immortals who sold Tangyuan - a traditional Chinese dessert with filling at the broken bridge during the lantern festival.

A few days later, the young man came back and complained that he could not eat for many days since he took the the dessert that he bought without knowing that it was the immortality pill, so the immortal lifted the man up, turned him upside down and shook him until the magic pill fell into the lake where the white snake was practicing under the bridge and accidentally swallowed it. The pill raised her magic power and a turtle who also did training Taoist magical arts in the same lake was jealous and tried to destroy her. (Watch the movie or tv series and you would know more about the legend or The Tale of the White Serpent) The scene of the immortal sold immortality pill is actually quite similar to this bridge:

However, what he carried were the peaches of immortality (Our article: Peaches of Immortality)

Legend of Tangyuan tells a story of Yuan Shikai, a warlord during 1912-1916 that he ordered to change the name of this traditional Chinese dessert from "Yuanxiao" to be "Tang Yuan" because the translation in Chinese means " Remove Yuan". It means, Chinese people celebrate the first moon after Chinese New Year in the Lunar Calendar when Yuan (his name) was removed. That would not be pleased to the warlord,right?

Tangyuan is actually round balls in ginger syrup soup, made of glutinous rice or glutinous flour with black sesame filling. To make this, you need to have a glutinous rice flour or use glutinous rice and cook it in the cooker, then pound the glutinous rice to be sticky dough like this:

Prepare a bowl of ginger syrup warm soup:

Filling is easy to make, just add sugar and oil or lard into black sesame:

To make it round is not easy, especially with filling, because gravity wins when you put on the paper. It won't be round unless you cook in hot water, the buble of cooking water will make it round and floating to the surface:

When you break the ball, the filling will flow gently to your mouth:

Put the round balls in the bowl first, then the ginger soup:

The version without filling called Tang Shui = Sugar Water. Tangyuan is traditionally consumed during Yuan Xiao = the first full moon after Chinese New Year, considered to be a new moon or Lantern festival, 15th of the first month in lunar calendar, Winter Solstice (22nd of Dec), as well as in the traditional Chinese wedding. It brings a good fortune.

Good luck!

Please read the next article about the Legend of White Serpent.