|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 50g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 23g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Sesame seed balls are one of the most popular desserts in China and Taiwan, offered at dim sum restaurants and sold by street vendors. They have a crispy exterior with a chewy interior, and a toasty, nutty, sweet taste. A simple dough of sugar, water, and rice flour is wrapped around a filling of red bean paste, then the balls are coated in sesame seeds and deep-fried until golden brown.
Although worth trying at home, there is a certain technique required while deep-frying: the sesame seed balls need to be turned continually to expand. It takes practice to skillfully maneuver the balls in the hot oil. Even with practice, you may not be able to replicate the perfectly shaped, large sesame seed balls sold at Chinese bakeries, but they will still taste delicious.
This dessert is best served while still hot so, ideally, eat them as soon as possible for the best taste.
Gather the ingredients.
In a wok or deep-sided, heavy saucepan, begin to heat the oil to reach 250 F. Make sure that there are at least 3 inches of oil in the wok.
Spread the sesame seeds over a piece of wax or parchment paper. Place a small bowl of water beside the sesame seeds.
Dissolve the brown sugar in 1 cup of the boiling water.
Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the dissolved sugar and water mixture. Stir until you have a sticky, caramel-colored dough, adding as much of the remaining 1/3 cup of boiling water as needed (don't add the water if not necessary).
Pinch off a piece of dough roughly the size of a golf ball. Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the dough and then the thumb and index fingers of both hands to form the dough into a cup.
Roll 1 level teaspoon of sweet red bean paste into a ball. Place the red bean paste in the hole and shape the dough over the top to seal. It is important to make sure the red bean paste is completely covered. Continue with the remainder of the dough.
Dip one ball at a time into the small bowl of water (this will help the sesame seeds stick to the dough).
Roll the ball over the sesame seeds. Repeat the process with the remainder of the dough balls.
Add the sesame seed balls, a few at a time, to the hot oil.
Once the sesame seeds turn light brown (about 2 minutes), use the back of a spatula or a large ladle to gently press the balls against the side of the wok or saucepan. Continue applying pressure as the balls turn golden brown and expand to approximately 3 times their normal size.
Drain the deep-fried sesame seed balls on paper towels.
Serve warm and enjoy.
- If preparing the sesame balls ahead, refrigerate them and then reheat at 375 F for about 8 minutes until they puff up again.
- The key cooking tip for this dessert is to never use a high temperature to fry the sesame seed balls. The ideal temperature for frying is 250 F (120 C). High temperatures cause the sesame seed balls to pop open and leak the filling.
- Leftover cooked sesame balls can be frozen. Cool completely and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flash freeze for about 1 hour and then place in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
Are Sesame Balls Healthy?
When it comes to dessert, eating something that is made of sesame seeds and bean paste means this treat is healthier than the average after-dinner sweet. Although fried, this Chinese delicacy is low in fat, and the bean paste contributes iron and magnesium, as well as other nutrients. Sesame balls are high in calories, however, so you do need to watch how many you eat.
Authentic sesame seed balls usually use a sweet red bean filling but you can swap this with sesame filling or even a peanut filling if you like.