Sunday 4 October 2015

Sesame Balls/ Jin Dui 煎堆

For those of you who have not tasted one, you must think it is crispy from its puffy outlook. You are just half right. The outer layer is coated in sesame seeds which are crisped up by frying in hot oil. However, its uniqueness stemmed from its chewiness which is the main criterion for a good piece of sesame ball or jin dui. There should be a big hollow that is filled with fillings, traditionally red bean paste. Making jin dui is a pretty simple process. The technical part is to get the jin dui to be fried to perfection. It must not be oily, it must not lose its shape after it is cooled and it must not be burnt nor too pale.

Jin dui is a must-have item in traditional Chinese households during Chinese New Year. Like many other items served during Chinese New Year that has symbolic indications, the sesame ball which expands when fried, symbolises growing wealth and luck with its rounded puffy appearance.  The Malays have also embraced this snack pretty well, with their green beans filling. Kuih bom, as they call it, is as good as our sesame balls but with different fillings and sometimes, with added sweet potatoes.

When it comes to jin dui, I prefer those sold by roadside hawkers instead of restaurants. Somehow the restaurants' version nowadays lack chewiness. Maybe I am too "old school" and this is a new acquired taste that I am not aware of. I was lucky to have chanced upon this recipe that I fits my bill. It was not oily at all when eaten and it remained puffy for a long time. I have been receiving raving reviews from my family. Even the pickiest naysayer liked it. So, I guess it is alright to share it to all of you. Happy cooking!

Sesame Balls/ Jin Dui 煎堆

Adapted from Garden Time Homemade Cuisine

Makes 8-9 balls


90 g glutinous rice flour (3/4 cup)
80 ml water (1/3 cup)
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
oil for deep frying (enough to submerge the balls)
glutinous rice flour for dusting
110 g of red beans filling (or any fillings of your choice)

Cooking Instructions

1. Divide red beans filling into individual balls of approximately 12 grams. Alternatively, just divide into 8 or 9 equal parts. Set aside.

2. Add glutinous rice flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl.

3. Boil water and pour into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork or chopstick. Knead mixture until it forms a dough. If dough is sticky, use some flour to dust. Divide dough into approximately 20 grams and form into balls. Alternatively, cut dough into 8 or 9 equal parts.

4. Dust a little flour on your hands and flatten dough into a disk. Put filling in the middle and wrap up the filling. Roll the dough to form a round shape. Quickly dip the ball into some water and then the sesame seeds. Thoroughly coat ball with sesame seed. Press to firm up the seeds a little. Repeat until all the balls are done.

5. Heat oil to medium heat. Add sesame balls. Do not put too many balls. The balls should be sizzling below the oil. Reduce fire to slow and continue to cook until the ball starts to float. Apply pressure to the ball to flatten the ball just a little. When the balls starts to float, increase heat to the maximum. Cook until golden brown and remove from fire. Drain and serve.

1. Oil must not be too hot while frying as the ball would burn easily leaving undercooked dough in the middle.
2. Oil must be hot enough when removing the balls to avoid oily sesame balls.


  1. This is one of my favorite desserts but I have never tried to make it myself. Your recipe looks so approachable!


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