Famous dim sum fried sesame balls with glutinous rice flour and red bean paste; Also known as Jian Dui or Ma Yuan in Chinese. It is widely served as breakfast or snack.
Let me guess, have you ever tried those fried sesame balls in dim sum halls? Possibly yes! Those sesame balls usually are served to enjoy between savory dim sum dishes with various sizes. In fact, sesame ball is a very common breakfast dish popular far beyond Guangdong cuisine (cause the popularity). It gets several nicknames in Chinese—Jian Dui or Ma Tuan. We usually have this as breakfast during my high school time. Then more and more popular healthy ideas come into life, so we did not cook it frequently in following years. However when it comes to holiday, a small batch of sesame balls will bring almost every guest back to old memories. I feel it is necessary to record how to make this fried sesame balls at home. It is a tradition to make some dishes with glutinous rice (sweet sticky rice) for Chinese people. For example we have Chinese rice dumplings (Zongzi) for Dragon Boat Festival,Chinese tteok for Middle Autumn day, sesame rice dumpling for Lantern Festival and NianGao for Spring Festival. Glutinous rice is gluten free rice with lower production relatively in China. Chinese people treasure the healthy value of sticky rice and thus providing various yummy dishes not only for holidays, but also daily desserts and breakfast- like glutinous rice balls with coconut, mixed congee and glutinous rice balls with crushed peanuts.
Have you ever tried to make those sesame balls at home? And succeeded? Haha, I guess some of you guys might have tried, but ended with frustration. To make the perfect sesame balls, here are some tips Elaine would love to share publicly.
- About the glutinous rice flour: water milling is a traditional processing technique used in many Asian countries. We used to water mill the soaked glutinous rice at home with a stone mill in the back yard. Water milled glutinous rice flour usually has fine texture. So firstly you will need water milled glutinous rice flour.
- About how much water: the ratio between the flour and water should be between 5:2 or 2:1. If too much water added, the balls will collapse completely after deep-frying. If too little water added, the shaping process will be quite difficult and the balls may explode during deep-frying process.
- About how much sugar: the restaurant version usually calls for a ratio of 5:2 (flour: sugar). I know people are matching their sugar intake each day. We can only slightly reduce the amount of sugar for home made version. The lack of sugar will not only influence the taste, but also the golden brown color.
- How to avoid explosion during the deep-frying process: You may have this experience: you made perfect balls with red bean filling, check the oil temperature very well but still you get the balls explode and oil sprinkle almost everywhere in your kitchen. The key skill here is to boil around 1/10 of your flour firstly and then mix with the remaining flour. When glutinous rice flour meet heat or hot water, it becomes sticky, which can prevent explosion in deep-frying process if the oil temperature is well controlled.
- Then next question: how to control the oil temperature? If you get a kitchen thermometer, heat the oil around 120 degree C. But relax if you do not have one. Just throw a smaller glutinous ball into the oil, start deep-frying when you will see lots of small bubble around. I would strongly suggest watching the video as I instructed lots of details about how to deep-fry the sesame balls. Higher oil temperature will burn the surface while the inner side keeps uncooked. However lower oil temperature cannot bring you a perfect golden brown color.
- When to stop fire —I would suggest transferring the balls out when they are slightly golden brown or medially golden brown because the left heat will darken the color in following minutes. We call this as “后油” effect in Chinese, literally mean after deep-frying effect.
Here is the video and click like please if it gives some inspiration to you. And do not forget to subscribe my youtube channel since I will create more video recipes in the year of 2015. Only if you guys like video of course.
Sesame Balls-Jian Dui
- 1.5 cup glutinous rice flour
- 80 g sugar , about ⅓ cup+ 2 tbsp.
- 100 ml water or 10ml more for adjusting , include the water for small dough, around ⅓ cup+ 1 tbsp.
- ½ teaspoon baking powder , optional
- 1 cup roasted white sesame seeds , homemade instructions here
- red bean paste , or other filling as needed
- water for dipping
- more glutinous rice flour for dusting
- oil for frying
Prepare the small dough
- In a small bowl, take around 2 tablespoon of glutinous rice flour out and mix with around 10ml water. Knead to until smooth.
- Bring some water to boil and then cook the small dough for around 2 to 3 minutes. Prepare a bowl with cold water on the side. Then the small dough is ready, transfer out and soak with cold water to cool down.
Prepare the main dough
- In a large bowl, mix the left flour with sugar and baking powder. And then add the small dough in. Break with hand and slowly stir in water. Continue kneading until smooth dough.
- Further shape the dough into long log and then divide into 20 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball.
Assemble the sesame balls
- Shape the small glutinous rice balls into a bowl and then wrap around 1 teaspoon red bean paste in. Seal completely and shape into a around ball again.
- Prepare two bowls: one with clean water and the other with sesame. Take one ball with one hand, quick dip with water and then roll the ball in sesame bowl with another hand. This is a personal tip to make the process easier. Press the balls several times so the sesame seeds can sticky to the surface. Repeat to finish all the sesame balls.
Frying the balls
- Heat enough oil (at lest cover the balls) until 120 degree C (or you can test the temperature with a smaller ball). Carefully add the sesame balls, slow your fire immediately and slowly deep-fry the balls until slightly golden brown. Turn off fire; transfer out and absorb extra oil with paper. Cool down for several minutes and enjoy!