Dim Sum Recipe #15: Mini Sesame Balls

So what’s your favorite item off of the sweet dim sum cart? For my mother-in-law, it’s gotta be Sesame Balls–those crunchy, chewy dumplings made from glutinous rice flour and filled with smooth red bean paste.The first time I tried making Sesame Balls it was a complete disaster. These iconic dim sum treats ended up with semi-charred, rock hard outsides, and undercooked, gooey centers. The main problem? Oil temperature and making the dumplings way too big.This time around, I’ve conquered these issues with 2 simple kitchen tools: a thermometer and a tablespoon measure. Because these are smaller than your usual Sesame Ball, I like to skewer them, similar to the way Japanese Dango are. This makes for easy eating and a pretty presentation.Mini Sesame Balls taste amazing with Dragonwell or Lychee Black Tea. Both these teas are excellent for cutting through heavier, deep-fried foods. And it’s a great idea to make sure that the tea is always piping hot for your guests. Constantly filing their teacups isn’t only a gesture of good will, it will also enhance the taste of all those nutty sesame seeds!Mini Sesame Balls

Makes 20 small dumplings.


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup water

pinch salt

4 oz. sweet rice flour

1/4 cup smooth red bean paste

1/2 cup sesame seeds

peanut oil, for frying


medium pot

pot for frying

Tablespoon measure

teaspoon measure

small bowl of water

bowl, for sesame seeds

stainless steel spider

plate with lined with paper towel

skewers (optional)


1. Place water and sugar in a medium pot. Set on medium heat until the sugar has just dissolved. Take the pot off the heat and add sweet rice flour all at once.

2. Mix the sweet rice flour with the sugar syrup together thoroughly until it becomes a homogenous dough. Use the tablespoon measure to create 1 Tbsp balls of dough, then cut these in half to create 2 balls. Create 20 rice dough balls, each having 1/2 Tbsp of dough.

3. Similarly, use the teaspoon measure to create 1 tsp balls of red bean paste, then cut these in half to create 2 balls. Create 20 red bean paste balls, each having 1/2 tsp of paste.

4. Flatten a rice dough ball into an 2″ oval with the palms of your hand. Place a bean paste ball in the middle, then seal the paste so that it is enclosed within the rice dough. Roll the dumpling into a ball, then lightly dab the outside of the ball with water. Roll this slightly wetted ball in a bowl of sesame seeds. Let the sesame seeds coat the dumpling on all sides evenly.

5. Fill the frying pot with enough oil to go up the sides by 1 1/2″. Heat the oil to 350-360 degrees F. Place a few balls on the spider, then slide these into the hot oil. Fry the balls 6-7 at a time, rotating them in the oil often. Keep the heat consistent and cook the dumplings for 5 minutes, until light golden brown.

6. Remove the balls from the oil, then place them on a paper towel to drain. Mini Sesame Balls are best served warm or within a few hours of cooking. Enjoy!