Sesame balls, or Jian Dui (煎堆), is a glutinous rice ball coated with sesame seeds. Jian Dui literally translates to ‘fried pile’, was revered as a popular street food and childhood favourite. Although it is no longer widely available in food stalls as, compared to the past, you are sure to see some on the table on special occasions like Chinese New Year. It is guaranteed to bring nostalgia to your guests.
The pastry is deep-fried in high temperatures, and as the dough expands, it creates a hollow centre where the fillings would typically be lotus paste or red bean paste. The Chinese believe that as the dough expands, one’s fortune would expand as well.
So for this Chinese New Year, why not surprise your guests with some homemade sesame balls? The recipe’s down below.
Chinese Sesame Balls (Jian Dui) Recipe:
- 190g of glutinous rice flour
- 80g of sugar
- 100ml water or 10ml more for adjusting, including the water for the small dough,
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder (optional)
- 1 cup roasted white sesame seeds
- A cup of water for dipping
- 10g of glutinous rice flour for dusting
- Oil for frying
- Red bean paste, or other fillings as needed
How to avoid the explosion of the sesame balls during deep-frying?
The key is the first boil 1/10 of the flour before mixing with the rest of the glutinous rice flour so that when heat meets the sesame balls, they do not explode!
The small dough: to prevent the explosion of the sesame balls
- Mix 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour with 10ml of water. Knead into a smooth dough.
- Boil some water and cook the small dough for about 2-3 minutes.
- Once the small dough is cooked, transfer out and soak in cold water to cool.
Cooking the sesame balls
- Mix the remaining glutinous rice flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the small dough in. Break the small dough with hands and slowly stir in water. Knead until smooth.
- Shape the smooth dough into a long stick and divide equally into 20 pieces. Shape the pieces into round, ball shapes.
- Optional: Press down the centre of the glutinous rice ball and add in 1 teaspoon of red bean paste (or any other filling). Seal completely and shape into a round ball.
- Quickly dip into a bowl filled with water and roll the glutinous rice ball in sesame seeds in another bowl. Repeat to finish all sesame balls.
- Heat the oil till 120℃. Carefully place in the sesame balls and deep-fry till golden. Be careful as heat is absorbed in the sesame ball and will cause further browning even after being removed from heat.
- Absorb excess oil, cool and serve. Enjoy!
Can’t get enough of CNY treats? Check out our recipe for Kuih Kapit (Love Letters).
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