Learn how to make sesame balls (jian dui) from scratch with all the tips you need to know to get a maximum result in your very own kitchen. The sesame balls can be cooked with an air-fryer or deep fry on the stove.
FRIED SESAME BALLS
Sesame balls are also known as Sesame seeds balls or in Chinese known as Jian dui 煎堆. Jian means fried and dui means a pile (like a big pile or something). Some people call is as Zhi Ma (sesame seeds) Qiu (ball) 芝麻球. It is named as such because of its shape like a ball. In Indonesia, we call this onde onde (not the same with the ondeh ondeh from Singapore and Malaysia). Sesame ball is a Chinese pastry made from glutinous rice flour with a filling consists that can be filled with sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste, peanut filling, etc. Some modern variation has also include cheese filling. The dough ball is then coated with white sesame seeds and deep-fried until golden brown and puffy. Sesame balls is also being served in Dim Sum Restaurant. In fact, it is one of the most popular pastries in Hong Kong. The best thing is, it isn’t that hard to make. I made mine with red bean paste filling and peanut filling.
I used to think making jian dui was a complicated matter and no way I could pull this off. I’m glad I proof myself wrong! With just few ingredients you can have this popular dim sum made from scratch.
1. Glutinous rice flour
2. Ready-made sweet bean paste OR Roasted peanuts (unsalted) + honey
4. White sesame seeds (untoasted)
6. Cooking oil for deep frying
HOW TO MAKE JIAN DUI FROM SCRATCH
I used ready-made sweet bean paste and make the super-easy peanut filling (only roasted peanuts, honey, and a bit of salt are needed) for filling. Lightly oil your palm and roll them into balls
So, all that’s left to do is making the dough and shaping them.
1. Bring water to a boil
2. Pour this into the glutinous rice flour mixture
3. Stir with rubber spatula to combine
It won’t come together into a dough ball just yet. You need to knead it with your hand when it’s not too hot anymore
4. Knead with your hand until the dough is smooth and not sticky. You can use a standmixer with a dough hook attachment to knead the dough too.
You may need to add a bit more glutinous rice flour if it’s still sticky, but you may not need to
5. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes
6. Divide into 12 equal balls and then flatten each one into about 4-5 inch circle (doesn’t have to be a perfect circle),about 1/4-inch thick and fill with either peanut filling or red bean paste. You can also wrap the filling with the dough like the way I did in the video
7. Gather the edge to enclose and seal and smooth into round balls
8. Dip the balls in flour paste (refer to recipe below) and then roll the balls in sesame seeds
This will ensure that most of the sesame seeds will not come off when you fry them
9. Fry the sesame balls over medium heat until puffy and crispy
TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Knowing these tips will help you get a good result:
1. Use untoasted sesame seeds
Untoasted sesame seeds will be white in color. If it’s toasted, usually the packaging will say something like “Toasted sesame seeds”. Why you would ask? if you use already-toasted sesame seeds, they will get burn. Trust me, I’ve tried it before. See the photo below for reference
2. Use flour paste before coating the sesame seeds
If you roll the dough balls straight in the sesame seeds, the seeds have trouble sticking to the dough and mostly come off when you fry them, like in the photo below. I lost most of the sesame seeds
3. Keep them moving while frying
This is very important or the sesame balls will not fry evenly and have splotchy dark spots here and there. So I use a spoon to gently move them and turn them around so they can fry evenly
4. Fry over medium-low heat
If you start with high heat, the sesame seeds will get burn while the dough is still raw
I apologize I can only share photos with you and not the actual jian dui 😉
Chinese Crispy Sesame Balls (Jian Dui/ Zi Ma Qiu)
- 60 gr boiling water or more as needed
- 50 gr sugar
- 120 gr glutinous rice flour plus more as needed
- small pinch of salt
- 1 tsp oil
- 2 cups white sesame seeds untoasted
Filling (choose either one or both):
- 150 gr red bean paste
- 150 gr roasted peanut + 90 gr honey + small pinch of salt
Flour paste (so the sesame seed won't come off when you fry them):
- 1 Tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 3 Tbsp water
Prepare the filling:
- For peanut filling: Put the roasted peanuts (I bought the peanuts that are already roasted and unsalted). Add honey, small pinch of salt and stir until combined. They will be sticky enough to roll into balls. Lightly oil your palms and roll them into 12 balls
- For sweet red bean paste: divide the bean paste into 12 portion. dust your hand with a bit of glutinous rice flour and roll the bean paste into balls
Prepare the dough:
- Mix glutinous rice flour, sugar, and small pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk to mix
- Bring about 100 ml of water to a boil and then pour 60 ml into the glutinous rice flour to start with. Use a rubber spatula to stir and mix. It won't be thoroughly mixed yet. When it's not as hot anymore, you need to use your hand to knead the dough. Add the oil and continue to knead into smooth non-sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a bit more glutinous rice flour until you can get non-sticky smooth dough. If the dough feels dry, you can add a bit more of the hot water
- Roll the dough into a log and then divide into 12 equal small dough balls. Keeping them cover and work with one at a time
- Take one ball and use your thumb to make a well in the center of the dough and work on widening the well to fit the filling in there. Put 1 peanut filling ball or 1 red bean paste ball
- Gather the edge to enclose. Pinch to seal and then roll the dough ball in between your palms to make it smooth. Make sure the dough ball is smooth with no cracks so the filling won't leak out during filling. If the dough becomes dry when you wrap, dab with a bit of water and you should be able to roll it smooth again. Repeat with the rest
- Prepare the flour paste by mixing the flour and water together. Roll one dough into the paste and then roll into the sesame seeds. Repeat with the rest
- Preheat your fryer with about 3-inches of oil over medium heat. If you put a skewer into the oil and there are bubbles around it, the oil is too hot. Lower the heat and wait for 3-5 minutes before frying
- Gently place the sesame balls into the oil. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches. The sesame balls will sink to the bottom at first. Use a spoon to keep them moving and turning them around so they fry evenly and don't get burn in certain spots. When you fry them over low-medium heat, the balls have lower chance of exploding and fry evenly
- Once they are crispy on the outside and lightly golden brown, remove and place on an absorbent paper towel
- Preheat your air fryer at 320 F (160 C) for 5 minutes. Brush the jian dui with some oil and put in the air fryer basket. Air fry for about 15 minutes. Then increase the temperature to 350 F (180 C) and air fry for another 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. The timing is just for reference. Check on them once or twice in between. They should be crispy on the outside and just lightly golden brown
How to store fried sesame balls:
- Fried sesame balls can be kept frozen. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the fried sesame balls have cooled down completely, place them on the baking sheet, not touching each other and pop them into the freezer for about 1 hour. They won't be completely frozen yet. Transfer to the freezer bag and they won't stick to each other anymore
Reheating fried sesame balls:
- They can be reheated in a toaster oven, air fryer, or oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes or until they are crispy again
Did mine in the air fryer! Worked a treat. Very delicious! Lower oil content and easy clean up. Just wondering if you could substitute peanut paste and honey mixture for the filing. Gonna try it!
Hi Drew, yes..the air fryer version saves lots of calories for sure 🙂 You can definitely use peanut paste and honey mixture for filling.
Thanks Marvellina. I did try it and the family loved it! Thanks so much for a great recipe!
Sister just to check may I use Koh Fun to make this Jin DUI? Thanks.
Hi Cheryl, I’m pretty sure you can, but the water amount you will have to figure out how much to use though because I’m sure the water absorption will be slightly different after the flour is being cooked. I’ve never tried it with koh fun before.
How come I follow your recipe to the dot but end up with a dough that is too sticky to handle. Cannot even form a ball
Hi Aileen, sorry for the trouble you had. It’s not supposed to be 125 gr of hot water. I’m not sure what happened as my own note has it at 60 gr and I knew previously it was correct as others have made it and didn’t have issue. I’m glad you brought this up and thank you for letting me know!!
Used an air fryer and the filling popped out during the first 160C fry. Still tastes amazing!
Hi Moon, you may want to adjust the temperature a bit lower then. Air fryer tends to fry much faster and our air fryer could be different too.
Can you stuff and freeze the dough the night before frying?
Yes, you can freeze the dough and then fry them the next day.
I tried this recipe but all my peanuts came out when I was frying it. Can you please give me some tips about it ??
Hi Joslynn, Please make sure the dough ball is smooth with no cracks when you wrap it so the filling won’t leak out during filling. If the dough becomes dry when you wrap, dab with a bit of water and you should be able to roll it smooth again. Make it smaller and try not to overstuff with the filling too much, once you get a hang of it, it will be easier
Ok, thanks for the tips. I am going to try it again.
I used air fyer and it turned out good too!
Hi Gloria, that’s great to know! I will try with air-fryer next time, save some extra calories 🙂 Did you brush with some oil ?
Hello! I was wondering how long they would last frozen? Thanks!
Hi Angeline, they can be kept frozen for up to 1 month for the best taste.
Can you convert all metrics to Engkish measurements please?
Hi Constance, I’m not familiar with English measurements. Is it the imperial measurements like this: http://allrecipes.co.uk/how-to/44/cooking-conversions.aspx
Thank you for so many tips. I have been struggling to get past wrinkly buns, wondering about using black beans for red beans in paste and much more.. having found your wonderful recipes I want to cook so many I will have difficulty choosing which to start with.
Hello, I’m glad you find them useful. For the longest time I was scratching my head trying to figure out what is it with this wrinkly steamed buns and no matter what I did they didn’t help until I know what I know now and share them at the blog. I hope you like what you try out in the future and let me know if anything is unclear, I’ll try my best to help. Cheers!