Sesame balls - China's take on doughnuts
Reader Mike from Melville wants to know what he is taking a bite of in Cyrildene.
CHINESE food vendors in Cyrildene sell small fried balls that look like mini jam doughnuts, but when you bite into them they taste like something completely different. What are they, and how are they made? - Mike, Melville
Sounds like a Chinese confection known as jin deui, or sesame balls, traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year. This recipe follows the rules set out by acclaimed Chinese food writer, Ken Hom.
Makes about 24
130g brown sugar
400g glutinous rice flour
200g sweet red bean paste
125ml (½ cup) sesame seeds
1.5 litres oil, for deep frying
Dissolve the brown sugar in 1 cup of boiling water. Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dissolved sugar mixture. Stir until you have a sticky, caramel-coloured dough, adding extra boiling water as needed. Pinch off a piece of dough the size of a golf ball, make an indentation in the dough and push a teaspoon of bean paste into the centre, then shape the dough to seal and form a ball. Continue for the remaining dough and paste. Spread the sesame seeds on a piece of wax paper. Fill a bowl with cold water and dip each ball into this before rolling in sesame seeds, so the seeds stick. Heat at least 7.5cm of oil in a wok or deep-sided, heavy saucepan and deep-fry the balls a few at a time. Once the sesame seeds turn light brown (about 2 minutes), use the back of a spatula or large ladle to gently press the balls against the side of the wok. Continue applying pressure as the balls turn golden brown and expand to about three times their previous size. Drain on paper towel and serve warm. If preparing ahead, refrigerate and then re-fry the balls until they puff up.