New Year sweet dumplings

Makes 24

These glutinous dumplings are traditionally made for Chinese New Year and can be served in a sweet fragrant soup. I've used the skins from the papaya here from the soup to make a kind of Asian stock syrup.

For the dumplings

60g black bean paste, sesame paste or smooth peanut butter
3tbsp caster sugar
250g glutinous rice flour, plus extra for dusting
90g rock sugar or granulated sugar

For the sweet soup

The skins from the papaya
1 star anise
A small piece of root ginger (about 30g), scraped and roughly chopped
The cooking liquid from the dumplings

Mix the sesame paste with the caster sugar. Sift the rice flour into a bowl and mix with approximately 200ml boiling water, then knead carefully to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Dust your hands with some rice flour and roll the dough into cherry-sized pieces and place on a lightly floured surface with some rice flour.

Form each ball of dough into a flat round, then fill each one with a little of the sesame paste and gather the dough back up into a round shape again with no visible joins.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil with the rock sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the dumplings in small batches and simmer for 5 minutes, or until they rise to the surface, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

Add the papaya skins, star anise and ginger to the syrup and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Reheat the dumplings in the syrup for a couple of minutes, then serve in warmed soup bowls with a little of the syrup.

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