Sesame balls are a popular restaurant favorite that’s surprisingly simple to make at home! It’s super crunchy, chewy, and slightly sweet - the dessert trifecta! Make this sesame balls recipe with only 6 ingredients!
When going to dim sum or Chinese restaurants, sesame balls, or Jian Dui, are an absolute MUST! I mean, how can you resist that crispy-chewy texture?!
With just a few tips and tricks from this sesame balls recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy this irresistible treat any time at home!
- Glutinous Rice Flour: This is a key ingredient to creating the super chewy texture fried sesame balls are known for! You can find it at your local Asian market or on Amazon. There really is no substitute for that signature texture.
- Boiling Water: Boiling water is absolutely crucial for the sesame balls to expand. If the water is too cool, your sesame ball will stay the same size and will be as hard as a golf ball (ask me how I know LOL).
- Raw Sesame Seeds: Raw sesame seeds are best for this sesame ball recipe because toasted sesame seeds have a higher likelihood to burn. No one wants that!
- Heat a pot of oil on medium-low heat while preparing the sesame balls.
- Create the dough by combining the glutinous rice flour, sugar, and salt. Then pour in the boiling hot water and stir. Knead the dough until all the flour is combined.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces & form them into ½-ich thick disks that are 3-inches wide.
- Add red bean filling to the center of the dough and wrap it completely, then roll it into a ball. Lightly brush or dip them in water then coat them in the sesame seeds.
- Fry the sesame balls on medium-low heat for about 12 minutes, or until they’ve doubled in size and turned golden. Transfer them to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before enjoying!
Important Key Tips
- The Perfect Dough Consistency: The dough will seem dry at first, but it should come together once kneaded. It should be a consistency similar to clay or play-do. You don’t want it too wet, otherwise, it’ll be hard to manage. Cover the dough that you’re not working with to prevent drying.
- Sealing the Dough Like a Pro: Make the center of the dough disk thicker and its edges thinner. Make sure the dough is completely sealed so the filling won’t ooze out when cooking.
- CRUCIAL Ingredient for Puffy Sesame Balls: Water MUST be boiling, otherwise, it won’t puff up when cooked. If the water is too cool, the sesame balls will be solid and rock hard.
- If frying, cook on medium-low heat for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp
- This Means Your Sesame Ball Will POP: If your sesame ball is golden and there’s one spot that’s protruding and whiter in color, it’s a sign that it has the potential to burst. I’d remove it from the pot immediately.
- Just for Safety: Keep your distance while frying in case any of the sesame balls burst.
What are sesame balls made of?
Fried sesame balls are made of chewy rice flour that’s typically stuffed with a filling such as red bean or lotus seed, then rolled in sesame seeds. The sesame ball is fried until it’s expanded into a golden crispy sphere. It’s a complete crowd-pleaser!
What are the sesame balls filled with?
Red bean paste is the most common filling for Chinese sesame balls, however, lotus seed paste or taro are also delicious options!
What do Chinese sesame balls taste like?
Sesame balls are slightly sweet from the filling and nutty from the sesame seeds. And you can’t forget about the irresistible chewy texture from the rice flour. It tastes like pure perfection.
How do you reheat the sesame balls?
My favorite way to reheat sesame balls is in the air fryer to make them SUPER crispy again. Simply pop them in the air fryer at 400° for about 3 - 5 minutes for a fresh, sweet, crispy treat!
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- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar add more if you like sweeter
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup boiling hot water*
- 8 teaspoons red bean paste
- ½ cup raw sesame seeds
- Heat a medium-sized pot on medium-low heat with enough oil to deep fry. Allow the oil to slowly heat while preparing the sesame balls.
- In a large bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, sugar, and salt.
- Pour in boiling water and mix together. The dough will look dry at first. Once the water is cool enough to touch, knead the dough together in the bowl until all the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover the dough that’s not being used with a damp cloth or paper towel to prevent they from drying. Form each piece into ½-inch thick disks about 3 inches wide. Make sure to make the center of the disk slightly thicker and the edges thinner.
- Add about 1 ½ teaspoon of red bean paste to the center of each disk and wrap the dough around the filling so it’s completely covered. It’s important to make sure there are no openings or thin areas in the dough, otherwise, it may burst while cooking. Roll the dough mixture between your hands to completely seal it and shape them into balls.
- Lightly brush or dip the balls in water then roll them in sesame seeds until well coated. Gently press the sesame ball to make sure the sesame seeds are secured on.
- The oil in your pot should be warm now. Add a few sesame balls at a time to prevent overcrowding. They will double in size so make sure to account for extra space as they cook. Fry for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring them occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If any of the sesame balls burst while cooking, quickly remove them from the pot so the filling doesn’t spill into the oil.
- Once they’ve expanded and turned golden, transfer them to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to cool for about 10 minutes before enjoying!
- Boiling Water: Boiled hot water MUST be used for this recipe. If the water is too cool, the sesame balls won’t expand and become rock hard while cooking.
- Raw Sesame Seeds: I highly recommend using raw sesame seeds instead of toasted sesame seeds because they're less likely to overcook while frying.
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