My friend Bobbie just asked me today about the strange green balls which are selling all over the Shanghai streets now 

What is it?

It is Qingtuan (Chinese: 青团, literally “green cake”) is a traditional Chinese dish. This food, which looks like a round green stone, is made of rice, red bean paste and a special plant called maiqing (麦青) (barnyard grass shoots) or aicao(艾草). The exact technique in making qingtuan is quite complicated. Barnyard grass shoots are edible only in spring, so this food is eaten for the annual Qingming Festival, which falls around April 5 in the Gregorian Calendar.

This is the look after you took a big bite, yummy~

The best green ball dumplings are made of Aicao, it is a special plant which is wildly used in China as a type of traditional herb medicine. So it is more expensive than maiqing, cost wise and people believe it is better in taste.

Step1: wash it and boiling

Step2:add glutinous rice and flour

Step3:mixing

Step4:make it into small little balls with red bean paste inside.
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Step5:steaming for 20 mins, ready!

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Quality  

I am picky with food, have to! Sometimes the poor quality balls tastes like Chewing Gum and the green color looks like fake paint – you don’t want to risk your stomach.  The best mass production ball dumplings are sold in Wangjiashao, go there and you will see a long waiting line, which is always a good sign for decent food.

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Or you could go somewhere far, i.e. chubby feng makes amazing green balls.

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Dough colored with wild herbs, homemade bean paste.
 
Chubby Feng's Qingtuan looks really fancy too!
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