Sesame balls (jin dui) – my childhood favourite! Whenever I’m at the dim sum restaurant, I will never fail to order a plate of these balls. Crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside with a perfectly thin and chewy layer of skin filled with lotus paste. Oh my gawd!! They are the best!! There are many varieties to it, peanut filling, red bean filling and there even some with chocolate! Definitely not my type of sesame balls!!
My late grandaunt (grandma’s sister) makes the best sesame balls. They were just like those from the dim sum restaurant – crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside with a perfectly thin and chewy layer of skin. They were still crispy even though were eaten few hours later. I wished I had learned the skills from her because mine were not up to par. Mine tasted okay when they were fresh from the wok but after sometime, they became tough and extremely chewy – It’s not meant for those with dentures!! Even I had a hard time eating them! 😆 I do not know what causes them to be tough and chewy, could it be I over mixed the dough or under mixed? If anyone knows the reason, could you please enlighten me? For the time being, I will just eat them when they are fresh from the wok 🙂
175g glutinous rice flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
84g caster sugar
125ml boiling water
30-40g sesame seeds
50g sugar-peanut filling
(store bought or mix 1/4 caster sugar + 3/4 ground peanuts, add more sugar if prefer it to be sweeter)
Oil for frying
1. Dissolve sugar with the boiling water. Set aside.
2. Place glutinous rice flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the sugar water into the well. Stir and knead until it forms a sticky dough. Add a little bit more water if needed.
3. Divide dough into equal pieces. Take a piece of dough, make a deep indentation with your thumb and spoon 1 teaspoon of sugar-peanut mixture into the hole. Carefully seal it up and shape it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining of the dough.
4. Spread the sesame seeds on a shallow plate and place a bowl of water next to it.
5. Dip each ball into the bowl of water and roll the ball over the sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining of the balls.
6. In a wok, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot*, carefully place a few** balls into the oil.
7. Once the sesame seeds turn slightly brown, use the back of the spatula to press them gently against the side of the wok while keep turning them in the hot oil. Continue applying pressure as the balls turn golden brown and expand to approximately 3 times their normal size.
8. Dish out and drain the balls on paper towels. Serve warm.
* To test if the oil is hot, place a chopstick into the oil, if the oil starts to bubble steadily around the chopstick, then the oil is hot enough for frying ( I learnt this while watching cooking show with my grandma ;))
** Do not overcrowd the wok as this will decrease the oil temperature thus resulting in greasy food.
Read more about the techniques of deep-frying here.