He Jia Tuan Yuan (Tofu Ball Soup for Lunar Chinese New Year) Recipe - Allrecipes.com
He Jia Tuan Yuan (Tofu Ball Soup for Lunar Chinese New Year) Recipe
  • READY IN 45 mins

He Jia Tuan Yuan (Tofu Ball Soup for Lunar Chinese New Year)

Recipe by  

"On Lunar Chinese New Year, we usually like to have meatballs or sweet dumplings. Ball in Chinese is 'wan,' sweet dumpling in Chinese is 'tang yuan.' Their shapes are both round. So we use a meatball dish and/or sweet dumpling dish to emphasize the Chinese expression 'He Jia Tuan Yuan.' 'He Jia' means the whole family. 'Tuan Yuan' means 'all be together' ('yuan' also means circle, round as well, which connects with the shape of the meatballs and the sweet dumplings). This tofu ball dish is easy to make, and it is a great soup for your Lunar New Year meal."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 5 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    45 mins


  1. Place the tofu into a large bowl, and mash it into a paste with a large spoon. Stir in the pork, cornstarch, egg, 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules, and 1 teaspoon salt until the mixture is very well combined.
  2. Heat the water and vegetable oil to a boil in a large saucepan, and reduce heat to an active simmer but not a full boil. Using gloved hands, pinch off about 1 tablespoon of the tofu mixture, roll it into a ball between your palms, and slide it carefully into the water so it doesn't break apart. Repeat with the rest of the tofu mixture. Without stirring the soup, let the tofu balls simmer until they rise to the top, about 30 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, and stir in the dried shrimp, pea vine shoots, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve hot.
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  • Cook's Notes
  • You may substitute some of the water with chicken stock.
  • Snow pea shoots have a unique aroma, and they make the soup taste refreshing.
  • Good choices for substitutions for snow pea shoots: watercress (highly recommended substitution), cilantro, Taiwan lettuce, spinach.
  • To make good tofu balls, the tofu to meat ratio should be 2:1 (If you are meat lover, you can use a 1:1 ratio). The tofu and cornstarch ratio should be 6:1.

Reviews More Reviews

Apr 13, 2010

An excellent and easy meal. The only complaint I have is that it is that the flavors are a bit subdued for me. Its not really a complaint though as the soup is supposed to be simple. I would add some miso paste and garlic to the tofu balls as well as put some ginger and lemon grass in the broth. The best thing about this recipe is that you can use it as a base to do whatever you like! Its my new standby.

Feb 22, 2010

we are foreigners living in China, i made this soup for some local Chinese friends tonight and they loved it! My toddler son also love it - and he is very picky. i left out the shrimp only b/c i forgot to buy them. thanks for the recipe Tao!


11 Ratings

Mar 08, 2010

Wow!! This very good. I had to use spinach because I couldn't find pea fine shoots, and I didn't add the shrimp because I'm not a big fan of them, but my family told me next time I should put the shrimp in. I really enjoyed making this, very tasty :)

Oct 15, 2012

Very simple, filling, and soothing soup. If you want to add anything to spice it up, I would recommend using something like a ground white pepper to give it a kick. Or even to simmer with a 2 to 3 thin slices of ginger. I agree with the other poster that this is a very easy recipe to tweak by adding things like different veggies and such. (Mmmmm, mushrooms!) Chinese cuisine has flavors that range from subtle to loud. There is not one fixed note. I'm going to make the comment here that miso paste, lemongrass, etc are not Chinese ingredients. Miso is traditionally Japanese, and lemongrass is a staple in Southeast Asian countries. Both would probably make delicious variations as this is a simple soup, but just wanted to put this out there in case anyone reading is searching for authenticity.

Jun 21, 2011

Good soup. I had a little bit of trouble with making the balls so most of them ended up as "lumps". My family and I weren't sure if you were supposed to eat the dried shrimp or not so we didn't. Next time I think I'd rather add a few small fresh shrimp so I know what to do with them.

Jan 04, 2015

So good! It's a very light soup - it would appeal to people who are afraid to try new things. The dumplings almost taste sweet. The mixture looked a bit wet and I was afraid they would dissolve into the simmering water, but they did not, and seemed to cook up very firm in about 10 minutes. I didn't have soft tofu, so I used shelf-stable Mori-Nu Firm silken tofu with 6 oz ground pork and 5 TBLs cornstarch. You may want a little more broth.

Feb 02, 2015

Oh yeeeeeehz ni hua my luv this very mucc happy chinese nu yea ^^

Jun 26, 2015

I keep this one in my recipe box. I've made it several times over the last couple years. Tasty, Satisfing and digestible. I do like the broth with chicken stock and a little bit of fermented soybean paste/deonjang, to taste. Thanks for the ratio tips at the bottom.


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  • Calories
  • 239 kcal
  • 12%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 11.7 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol
  • 70 mg
  • 23%
  • Fat
  • 15.3 g
  • 23%
  • Fiber
  • 0.6 g
  • 2%
  • Protein
  • 14.5 g
  • 29%
  • Sodium
  • 786 mg
  • 31%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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