Sesame seed balls or simply sesame balls or Jian Dui in Mandarin is a Chinese sweet. They are made of glutinous rice flour and filled with different fillings like black sesame paste, red bean paste, crushed peanuts paste or lotus seed paste (traditional style) sweetened with sugar. They are often described as sweet, crispy on the outside and chewy inside.
Jian Dui: Sesame Seed Balls [Gluten Free, Vegan]
For the Balls:
- Some rice bran oil for deep frying
- 1 cup white sesame seeds for coating
- Some water for coating
For the Black Sesame Filling:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup black sesame seeds
- 5 tablespoons agave syrup
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
For the Dough:
- 3 cups and 2 1/2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For preparing the black sesame filling:
- Heat up a frying pan, toast the black sesame seeds for around 5 minutes on low to medium heat or until aromatic. Taking care not to burn the sesame seeds.
- Transfer the black sesame seeds to a food processor, blend the sesame seeds until you get a fine paste.
- Transfer the ground sesame seeds to the frying pan, add desiccated coconut, extra virgin olive oil and agave sugar, stir well to form a smooth and thick paste on low to medium heat. Transfer to a bowl and cool in the refrigerator.
- Once cooled, divide and roll the sesame paste into 22 small balls and set aside on a large plate. You may have some extra sesame paste leftover.
For the dough:
- Add all the glutinous rice flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add 1 cup of water, agave syrup, vanilla extract and salt, use a spatula to mix briefly.
- Then start kneading with your hands and gradually add the rest of the 1/2 cup water as you knead into a smooth and slightly sticky dough.
- Pinch and shape the dough into around 22 equal size balls, flatten the balls into a 3 inch disc with your fingers with the middle thicker than the edges and fill each disc with 1 small ball of the black sesame paste.
- Wrap the black sesame ball with the dough and fold into half. Pinch some dough from the sides to fill the top of the dough and gently form a smooth ball with your palms and place on a large plate. Repeat with the rest of the dough until finished.
- Dip each ball into a bowl filled with some water and immediately coat each ball generously with some white sesame seeds, roll and shape into a rounded ball again while pressing the white sesame seeds onto the balls.
For cooking the filled sesame balls:
- Heat up a wok filled with some rice bran oil to 250ºF and just enough to cover the sesame balls.
- Turn the heat to the lowest setting and carefully drop about 7 balls into the wok and cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown on low heat. Drain on kitchen paper towel. Repeat and cook the balls in 3 batches.
- Best when served immediately after frying.