sesame-seed-balls

It’s time for a trip down memory lane! I posted this recipe in the very early days of my blog, back when I was deep-frying foods like a maniac, but never thought to re-post it after my blog was wiped clean in 2010. And that’s silly, because sesame seed balls were always my favorite thing about eating at Chinese restaurants. They’re filled mochi rolled in sesame seeds and deep-fried. The crunchy outer layer gives way to a soft, chewy layer with a slightly sweet bean paste center. Basically, they’re perfect.

Though most commonly called jin deui, in different regions of China, they’re also known as matuan, ma yuan, and jen dai. They’re buchi or butsi in the Philippines. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Traditionally, they’re filled with lotus paste, but black bean paste and azuki bean paste are common (and delicious!) as well. Since you’re going to want to eat the entire batch yourself, here’s a “fun” fact to ward off anyone who might try and put their hands on your sesame seed balls: many people die every Chinese New Year by choking on mochi. I’m serious! Proceed with caution.

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Sesame Seed Balls (Jin Deui)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 10 large or 20 small balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c glutinous rice flour
  • ¼ + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • sweet red bean paste or lotus paste
  • ½ c sesame seeds
  • cold water
Instructions
  1. Pour sesame seeds into a shallow bowl.
  2. Fill a small bowl with cold water.
  3. In a small saucepan, boil ½ c water.
  4. Add brown sugar to hot water and stir to dissolve.
  5. Pour glutinous rice flour into a medium bowl; make a well, and pour in hot sugar mixture.
  6. Stir mixture with a fork until dough comes together.
  7. Knead for 1-2 minutes, until dough is smooth. Add a little extra boiling water if needed, but take care not to let dough get sticky.
  8. To assemble, pinch off a portion of dough and roll into a ball (1½” for smaller balls, or the size of a golf-ball for larger ones).
  9. Make a well in the ball with your finger; place about a teaspoon of bean paste inside.
  10. Seal the dough around the opening, being careful not to let paste seep out (this may take a little practice; try pinching the seam shut and rolling it into a ball again, and feel free to use extra water as needed).
  11. Dip filled ball into bowl of cold water and roll in sesame seeds to coat.
  12. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  13. In a deep fryer, bring oil to 375°.
  14. Drop a couple of balls into the oil, rotating them regularly so they cook evenly.
  15. After a few minutes, the balls will rise to the top of the oil.
  16. Using a spatula or chopsticks, hold the balls under the oil (it helps to trap them against the side of your deep fryer) for another 3-5 minutes (depending on size), until golden brown. Cooking them on the longer side is preferable, as long as you don’t burn the outsides. If you're unsure, you can sample a test ball; if the inner dough is soft and raw, increase the frying time.
  17. Repeat in small batches until all balls have been fried.
  18. Let cool for a few minutes and serve at room temperature.