I made these sweet Sesame Balls filled with Red Bean Paste to ring in the Chinese New Year.
The paste is two ingredients and the sesame balls are another two. Yep, that’s it. Both were pretty fool-proof. They were amazingly simple however also a bit tedious (hence the long instructions below). Make sure you leave plenty of time and have some good background music or enlist a few helpers.
Red Bean Paste
6 ounces small red beans
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
Wash the beans, cover with cold water, and soak overnight. Drain and place beans in a medium saucepan and cover completely with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1-1/2 hours or until beans are very soft. Check every so often to ensure there is still plenty of liquid covering the beans, add more if necessary. When tender, strain beans.
Place the beans and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the beans and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to incorporate the oil. Beans are done when they are fairly dry. Set aside.
1 cup water
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 cups glutinous rice flour
oil for frying (grapeseed and vegetable oil)
1 cup sesame seeds
In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar in water over medium heat.
Create a well with the rice flour in a medium bowl. Slowly add the hot liquid and stir until completely smooth. Knead a couple of times in the bowl to pick up any dry flour. The dough should be play-dough consistency and easy to work with. Divide the dough into four parts. As you use each part, cover the remaining pieces with a damp cloth.
Roll one part into a snake, about 1 inch in diameter. Pinch off about 1 inch pieces and roll each into a ball (you’ll have about 6-8). Have a small bowl of water nearby as the dough can get slightly dry.
Heat a wok or a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to make about 4 inches deep. Heat the oil to 350. And work with the heat to keep it at 350 the whole time.
Form the balls into a cup in your hand and fill with about 1 teaspoon of red bean paste. They will not explode if you over or under fill them! Pinch all sides of the cup around the paste back together and roll into a ball. Use water as necessary to make sure there are no cracks. Repeat with all pieces from this snake (do this to all 6-8 pieces before the next step).
Place wax paper on the counter and pour about 1/3-1/2 cup of the sesame seeds. Dip one ball at a time into the bowl of water and then roll in sesame seeds. Repeat with all 6-8 pieces you have rolled so far. When the oil reaches 350, add this round of balls to the oil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and flip them around and cook for another 2-3 minutes. If you opt to make larger sesame balls, they will need 6-8 minutes.
While the first round is cooking, move on to the next snake and repeat above steps. It took exactly the amount of time to roll 6-8 balls as it did for the prior round to cook. So there was no waiting around between batches. As the balls are done, remove them to a baking sheet lined with 2-3 layers of paper towels. Then add the next batch ready to go. Repeat.
These are best right out of the wok but can wait at room temperature for several hours.