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Chinese Fried Sesame Balls

This is a traditional and popular Chinese classic dessert, served during Lunar New Year and it that will satisfy your sweet cravings.

by Frank Tiu

Inspired by


for 8 servings

Red Bean Filling

  • ¼ cup
    red bean, dried (40 g)
  • 4 cups
    water (960 mL)
  • ¼ cup
    sugar (50 g)


  • ⅔ cup
    hot water (160 mL)
  • ½ cup
    light brown sugar (110 g)
  • 2 cups
    glutinous rice flour, plus more for dusting (250 g)
  • ½ cup
    sesame seed (75 g)

For Frying

  • 7 cups
    vegetable oil (1.6 L)



  1. Make the red bean filling: In a medium bowl, combine the red beans with 1 cup (240 ml) of water. Cover with plastic wrap and soak overnight.
  2. Drain the red beans, then transfer to a small saucepan with the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and cook for 1 hour, until soft enough to mash with a fork.
  3. Add the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and a thick red bean paste forms.
  4. Transfer the red bean paste to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the paste to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Make the dough: In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the hot water with the light brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Add the glutinous rice flour to a medium bowl and use a spoon to create a small well in the center.
  7. Pour the sugar syrup into the well and stir for 5 minutes, until the dough is well combined and no longer sticks to the bowl.
  8. Lightly dust a clean surface with glutinous rice flour. Turn the dough out and knead for 5 minutes, until it forms a smooth, round ball. Use a little bit more flour or water as needed.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into small balls, then flatten into discs about ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) thick and 2½-inches (6.5 cm) in diameter.
  10. Place 1 teaspoon of red bean filling in the center of a piece of dough. Fold in the edges to cover the filling, then roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the sesame seeds until the dough is covered. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  11. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot until it reaches 350°F (180°C).
  12. Fry the sesame balls for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!




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