Chinese Sesame Balls Recipe: How to Make This Delicious Snack at Home – Seaco Online
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Chinese Sesame Balls Recipe: How to Make This Delicious Snack at Home

If you're a fan of Chinese desserts, chances are you've tried sesame balls at some point. These delicious treats are a popular snack in China and are often served during special occasions like the Lunar New Year. Sesame balls, also known as Jian Dui, are made with glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet ingredients like red bean paste.

A bowl of glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, and sugar. A spoon scooping out small portions and rolling them into balls. Oil sizzling in a pan as the balls fry to a golden brown

Making sesame balls at home may seem intimidating, but it's actually quite simple. The dough is made with just a few ingredients and can be formed into balls before being filled with your choice of filling. Once filled, the balls are fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, while the filling inside remains soft and chewy.

If you're looking to try making sesame balls at home, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we'll break down the history and significance of sesame balls, the ingredients you'll need to make them, and the step-by-step process for preparing and frying the dough. We'll also answer some frequently asked questions about making sesame balls and provide some tips for serving and storing them.

Key Takeaways

  • Sesame balls are a popular Chinese dessert made with glutinous rice flour and sweet fillings like red bean paste.
  • Making sesame balls at home is easier than you might think, and requires just a few simple ingredients.
  • To make sesame balls, you'll need to prepare the dough, form and fill the balls, and fry them until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

History and Significance

A chef rolls small balls of dough in sesame seeds, then fries them until golden brown. The crispy, chewy treat symbolizes good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture

Traditional Chinese Dessert

Chinese sesame balls, also known as jian dui or jin dui, are a popular traditional Chinese dessert that originated in Cantonese cuisine. The pastry is made from glutinous rice flour and is coated with sesame seeds on the outside. The dough is then deep-fried, resulting in a crispy and chewy texture. Inside the pastry, there is a large hollow caused by the expansion of the dough during the frying process.

Sesame balls are a beloved dessert in Chinese culture and are often served during special occasions such as the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year. They are also a popular item on dim sum menus and can be found in many Cantonese and Mandarin restaurants.

Cultural Relevance

Sesame balls have cultural significance in Chinese cuisine. The delicate balance of the crispy exterior and chewy interior represents the yin and yang of Chinese philosophy. The sesame seeds on the outside of the pastry symbolize prosperity and good luck.

In Hong Kong, sesame balls are a popular street food and can be found in many food markets and street stalls. They are often served with savoury fillings such as minced pork or seafood, but the most common filling is sweet red bean paste.

If you want to add a seafood twist to your sesame balls, you can use shrimp or crab meat as a filling. The seafood filling will add a unique flavour to the pastry, making it a perfect addition to your dim sum spread.

Ingredients Breakdown

A table with ingredients: glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, sugar, water, and red bean paste. Bowls and measuring tools are scattered around

Key Ingredients

To make authentic Chinese sesame balls, you will need glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, and a filling of your choice. Glutinous rice flour, also known as sweet rice flour, is the main ingredient for the dough. It has a high starch content, which gives the dough its sticky and chewy texture when cooked. Sesame seeds are used to coat the outer layer of the sesame balls, giving them a nutty and crunchy texture.

As for the filling, the most popular one is sweet red bean paste. It is made from cooked red beans that are mashed and sweetened with sugar. Other common fillings include lotus seed paste, black sesame paste, and peanut filling. These fillings are usually sweet and creamy, providing a nice contrast to the chewy texture of the dough.

Alternative Fillings

If you want to experiment with different fillings, you can try using seafood as a filling. For example, you can use cooked shrimp or crab meat mixed with cream cheese or mayonnaise to make a savoury filling. Another option is to use canned tuna mixed with chopped celery and onion for a refreshing filling. However, keep in mind that these fillings may not be traditional, and may alter the taste and texture of the sesame balls.

Here is a table summarizing the key ingredients for making Chinese sesame balls:

Ingredient Description
Glutinous rice flour Main ingredient for the dough, provides chewy texture
Sesame seeds Coats the outer layer of the sesame balls, adds nutty and crunchy texture
Sweet red bean paste Traditional filling made from cooked red beans and sugar
Lotus seed paste Sweet and creamy filling made from lotus seeds
Black sesame paste Sweet and nutty filling made from black sesame seeds
Peanut filling Sweet and creamy filling made from ground peanuts
Seafood Optional savoury filling, can use cooked shrimp, crab meat, or canned tuna mixed with cream cheese or mayonnaise

Preparing the Dough

A pair of hands mix glutinous rice flour and water, forming a smooth dough. Sesame seeds are rolled into small balls and then coated with the dough

Making the perfect dough for sesame balls is crucial to achieving the right texture and taste. Here are the steps to follow to prepare the dough:

Mixing and Kneading

First, you will need to mix together glutinous rice flour, sugar, and hot water to form a smooth and elastic dough. You can use a stand mixer or mix the ingredients by hand. It is important to mix the dough well to ensure that all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Once the ingredients are mixed, you will need to knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable. Kneading the dough helps to activate the gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity. You can knead the dough by hand or use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

Creating the Perfect Texture

To achieve the perfect texture for your sesame balls, you will need to use glutinous rice flour. This type of flour is also known as sticky rice flour and is gluten-free. It is important to use glutinous rice flour to ensure that the dough is sticky enough to hold its shape when fried.

Another ingredient that can be added to the dough to create a lighter texture is baking powder. This ingredient helps the dough to rise and become more fluffy.

If you want to add a seafood twist to your sesame balls, you can try adding diced prawns or crab meat to the dough mixture. This will give your sesame balls a unique flavour and texture.

Overall, preparing the dough for sesame balls is a simple process that requires a few key ingredients and some kneading. With the right ingredients and technique, you can create delicious and authentic Chinese sesame balls at home.

Forming and Frying

Sesame balls being rolled in sesame seeds, then fried until golden brown

Shaping the Balls

Now that you have prepared the dough and filling for your Chinese sesame balls, it's time to shape them. Take a small amount of the dough, about the size of a ping pong ball, and flatten it in your palm. Place a small amount of filling in the centre of the dough. Gather the edges of the dough and pinch them together to form a round ball. Roll the ball between your palms to smooth out any creases or bumps. Repeat the process until you have used up all the dough and filling.

Frying Technique

To achieve the perfect deep-fried sesame balls, it's important to get the frying technique right. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or deep frying pan until it reaches the right temperature. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature for deep-frying sesame balls is between 170°C and 180°C.

Carefully drop the sesame balls into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the balls until they turn golden brown and become crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sesame balls from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Remember to turn the sesame balls frequently while frying to ensure that they cook evenly. You can also use the back of a ladle to gently press down on the balls while frying to help them expand and become larger.

If you want to try something different, you can also add seafood to your sesame ball filling. Shrimp or crab meat are great options that will add a delicious flavour to your sesame balls. Simply mix the seafood with the other filling ingredients before shaping the balls.

Serving and Storage

A table with a plate of golden brown sesame balls, surrounded by small bowls of soy sauce and sesame seeds. Airtight containers filled with more sesame balls sit nearby for storage

Presentation Tips

Sesame balls are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. To make them look as good as they taste, try rolling them in a mixture of black and white sesame seeds. This will give them a striking appearance that will delight your guests. You can also sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the sesame balls to add a touch of sweetness and make them look even more appetizing.

If you want to take your presentation to the next level, try serving your sesame balls with a dipping sauce. A sweet soy sauce or a plum sauce would be a great complement to the flavours of the sesame balls. You can also experiment with other sauces and see which ones work best for you.

Storing Leftovers

Sesame balls are best served fresh, but if you have any leftovers, don't worry, they can be stored for later. To keep them fresh, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. This will prevent them from drying out and keep them moist and chewy.

If you want to store your sesame balls for an extended period, you can freeze them. To do this, place them on a wire rack or baking sheet and freeze them until they are solid. Once they are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or a freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you're ready to eat them, simply thaw them at room temperature for a few hours or microwave them for a minute or two. If you're microwaving them, be sure to wrap them in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

If you want to add a twist to your sesame balls, you can try adding seafood to the filling. Shrimp or crab meat would be a great addition and would give the sesame balls a unique flavour. Just make sure to cook the seafood before adding it to the filling to ensure that it's safe to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sesame balls being fried in a sizzling hot pan, golden brown and crispy, with a sweet aroma wafting through the air

How do you prepare sesame balls with no filling?

Preparing sesame balls without filling is a simple process. First, mix glutinous rice flour with water to form a dough. Then, shape the dough into small balls and roll them in sesame seeds. Finally, deep fry the balls until they are golden brown.

What's the secret to the perfect fried sesame balls?

The secret to the perfect fried sesame balls is to make sure that the dough is not too wet or too dry. If the dough is too wet, the sesame balls will not hold their shape and will become soggy. If the dough is too dry, the sesame balls will be hard and tough. Also, make sure that the oil is hot enough before frying the balls.

Can you walk me through an easy recipe for sesame balls?

Sure! Here's an easy recipe for sesame balls:


  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • Oil for frying


  1. Mix the glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water in a bowl to form a dough.
  2. Shape the dough into small balls.
  3. Roll the balls in sesame seeds.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the balls until they are golden brown.
  5. Serve hot.

What goes into the sweet paste found inside sesame balls?

The sweet paste inside sesame balls is usually made from red bean paste or black sesame paste. Red bean paste is made from boiled red beans and sugar, while black sesame paste is made from roasted black sesame seeds and sugar.

Is there a healthy way to make sesame balls?

Sesame balls are typically deep-fried, so they are not the healthiest snack. However, you can try baking them instead of frying them to make them a bit healthier. You can also substitute some of the glutinous rice flour with whole wheat flour to add some fibre.

How should I store leftover sesame balls to keep them fresh?

To keep leftover sesame balls fresh, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should last for up to 3 days. If you want to reheat them, place them in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes until they are warm and crispy again.

As a suggestion, you can also add some seafood to your sesame ball recipe. Shrimp or crab meat can be added to the filling for a delicious twist on the traditional recipe.