Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fried Sesame Balls


If you've never tried dim sum before (and believe me, I know a few people who haven't), man…you are truly missing out!

I am just so in love with all of the assortment of food that most places offer (both savory and sweet), and these sesame balls top my list for favorite dim sum dessert. It's also a very common Khmer and Vietnamese Dessert and like most, I grew up eating this stuff.

Today, I'm showing you guys how to make one of my favorite desserts called fried sesame balls. A fresh sesame ball is slightly crispy on the outside but has a softer, yet chewy interior. At the center of all of this AWESOMENESS holds this soft and slightly sweet mung bean and coconut filling that'll tickle your taste buds in ways you never knew existed!


For the *dough:

2 cups of warm water + 3 Tbsp more during kneading
16 ounce bag of glutinous rice flour
1 cup of rice flour
1 bag (about 2 Tbsp) of Alsa baking powder (you may try subbing for any baking powder)
1/4 tsp of salt
3/4 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of mashed potato flakes (any boxed brand works)
vegetable oil for frying
candy thermometer

*I found a recipe for the dough here, but I've modified the ingredients a bit and also used my own method for mixing.

For the filling:

8 ounces of split/peeled mung bean
2 cups of water
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp + a pinch of salt
1/4 cup of *caster sugar

*to make caster sugar, just pulse white granulated sugar in a food processor until super fine and powdery.

Additional items needed:

white sesame seeds (placed in a large shallow dish)
some water


1. Start off by making your filling. Place your mung bean into a rice pot and wash them until the water runs clear. Once done, drain all the water out, and pour 2 cups of water in. Steam in your rice cooker until done.

2. Once it's done steaming, add in your salt, caster sugar, and coconut flakes and mix until combined. It should resemble the texture of mashed potatoes.

3. Shape your filling into small balls and place them on a baking sheet. I prefer less filling, so I make mine smaller than usual. You may use a melon baller to save some time. Cover and place your filling in the fridge while you work on the dough.

4. To make your dough, place your glutinous rice flour, rice flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Set this mixture aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, add in your sugar and 2 cups of warm water. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add in your mashed potato flakes and stir to dissolve again.

6. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and slowly pour in your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine and then gradually switch to using your hands.

7. Add in a Tbsp of water at a time until you get a soft/workable consistency. I usually add an additional 2-3 Tbsp of water to the dough during the kneading process. Test out the dough by breaking off a tiny piece of dough (about a golfball size amount). Make a rounded ball out of it and then flatten it out. If it's SUPER crackly and dry, add in a bit more water.

8. Once your dough is of the proper consistency, form it all into a big ball and wrap it snuggly with a piece of saran wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

9. Get a clean dish rag or paper towel ready.

10. Grab a golfball size of dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten it out with your thumbs and place a piece of filling in the middle. Pinch to seal. Roll into a smooth ball again and then add a few drops of water into your hand. Gently roll the dough around in your palms, making sure to moisten it well.

11. Drop your ball into your dish of sesame seeds.


13. Roll your dough around in the sesame seeds very well. I like to push the ball into the seeds as I'm rolling them around in the dish. Reshape your ball and then proceed with the rest.

14. Allow the sesame balls to rest for at least an hour. If you have several hours, that's great too. I leave mine out for about 2 hours, most of the time. Doing this allows the sesame seeds to adhere better and you'll notice that the dough hardens a bit while it sits out, which I think adds to the overall texture of the sesame balls.

15. Fry your sesame balls at 325 degrees F for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. The temp will probably drop to 300 degrees (which is okay too) but anything lower will cause them to be greasy. Keep close and constantly keep them moving using a pair of chopsticks (or whatever you have on hand).

16. Place them on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Allow to cool slightly before eating, as the filling will be hot. ENJOY!!




* You must wait at least one hour before frying up your sesame balls. My recipe requires wetting your hands before rolling them in the sesame seeds, and if you try to fry up the sesame balls while they're still moist, they will EXPLODE in the oil. lol.

*Try not to forget to dry your hands BEFORE you roll your balls into the sesame seeds. If you forget that part, the sesame seeds will stick to your hand and it gets quite messy! You will have to wash your hands after you roll each and every ball and that can take up a lot of time!

*You may fill these with red bean paste or even palm sugar instead.


  1. Hi sav,

    I went to chinese market last weekend and bought some of sesame balls, and since been looking for the best recipe. And found yours! I will try it this weekend! Can i substitute potato flakes to potato powder? And what about sweetened coconut flakes! Is it the same as dessicated coconut + sugar? Thanks for sharing again! Love ur recipe!

  2. Hi Gen. I've never used potato powder to sub but you may want to cut the recipe in half and give it a go. Just make sure you do that before anything else because it would just be a waste of time if you made the filling when the dough didn't even turn out for you. Lol. Dessicated coconut comes in larger chunks, yes? You may want to chop them up smaller for it to work. Also because it's dry, you may want to add some a little bit of hot water when mixing the coconut in and up the sugar SLIGHTLY. Good luck!

  3. 2 tbsp of Baking powder or 2 tsp?

  4. Hi Sav, thank you for posting this recipe and video on youtube. Made this today and it was so yummy!! Been wanting to make this for a long time but did not find a recipe with good outcome. Very happy with this batch. It's a keeper for sure. Thanks again for sharing!!

  5. Yay! So glad you like it! It is one of my favorite recipes and I've been craving it! I think I might make some this weekend. :)

  6. Looking forward to trying this! Can the dough and filling be refrigerated overnight? Or would it dry out?

  7. I have never tried leaving them in the fridge overnight before. I think that will allow some moisture to form, so I would advise against it. You can make these several hours ahead though, and just leave them out, and then fry when you need it. You have to allow the outside dough to harden a bit before you fry...if you don't, your sesame balls will explode while frying.

  8. Hi! I am from Cambodia and never learned much of my mother's recipes prior to her passing. Thank you for your tutorials and blogs. I am excited about cooking Cambodian food again.

  9. Hi Sav,

    First and foremost, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to film and share this recipe. Secondly, my question is ... may I substitute coconut flakes with coconut milk for the filling? In all the times I've devoured these bad boys, I don't think I ever noticed the coconut flakes. Maybe I just didn't take the time to savor them properly. Perhaps, I would have known there are coconut flakes in the filling. lol.

  10. Hi Katie. The coconut flakes are used for texture and flavor. You can omit the coconut flakes altogether too. Do not add coconut milk. That would water down your filling and it would make your filling too soft to make into little balls, and they will not firm up.

  11. Hi Vanessa. I'm glad you are enjoying the tutorials and recipes! It makes me so happy to know that you can now make some good Khmer desserts/food that would make her proud! :)

  12. Hi Sav,

    Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe, and I just have a quick question.

    Can I use Powder Sugar instead of Caster Sugar?

    Do you think the taste and/or texture will be different?

    Sorry for the bother and THANKS in advance.

    Have a great day! ^_^

  13. Powdered sugar shouldn't affect the taste/texture too much. I think that will be okay to use for the filling.

  14. […] is they can be filled with basically anything you’d like! Some popular alternatives include mung beans, sweet potatoes or minced […]

  15. Thank you for this recipe! I tried making this using instructions from a different site and it turned out greasy and soggy. Your recipe gave me really crunchy, delicious balls! However, I don't think caster sugar is necessary and regular baking powder works fine too. The dough is A LOT so I has a lot of leftover dough and not enough bean filling. Overall though, great recipe!

  16. Yay! So glad it worked out for you! Good to know that regular baking powder works too!

  17. Hi Sav: How many balls does this recipe make? Thanks ;-))

  18. Michael Cartier OnsouvanhJanuary 13, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    GIRL ..... THANK YOU! I have played with many recipes and they all turned out fine BUT your recipe is the HOLY GRAIL. The texture is perfect when you fry it . Because your directions +video is detailed , everyone should be able to make this wonderful treat at home.
    Works well with savory fillings also!

  19. Hi Sav
    Thanks for your yummy recipe.
    Could you tell me how to make it more crispy and chewy, I find after 15 mins, it lost the crispiness.
    Look forward to hearing from you.


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  21. I’m so excited to try these! I had them once at an Asian restaurant and they came with a bowl of some kind of lemon and cinnamon to dip in...any idea what that might have been? Or how to make it? Thanks!


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