Crisp and golden-brown on the outside, chewy on the inside – what isn’t there to like about zeen doy, or sesame seed balls? While they’re enjoyed year-round as a sweet treat, sesame seed balls are a traditional delicacy of New Year and birthday celebrations in China.
About sesame seed balls
Sesame seed balls are one of the most popular desserts in China. Their written history goes back to the Tang Dynasty, which lasted from the 7th to the 10th century. They were one of the foods served at the imperial table in Chang’an, China. From there, their popularity spread until they became typical cuisine in Southern China.
Sesame seed balls take on a special significance at Chinese New Year. As these tasty balls are fried, the dough expands, signifying a similar expansion in your wealth during the coming year.
How sesame balls are prepared
The filling is made from a paste of red beans, water and sugar. This paste is rolled into balls and then chilled until needed. Other fillings can also be used, such as sesame seed or peanut butter pastes. Sticky dough is then made from hot water, sugar and glutinous rice.
The dough is divided into equal pieces and rolled out into a flat, round shape. This flattened dough is then rolled around red bean filling. Next, the balls are rolled in sesame seeds until covered generously, and then deep-fried until crisp and golden brown. It’s very important to use glutinous flour rather than rice flour, and to not over-knead the dough.
How to eat sesame balls
Sesame seed balls should be eaten fresh. Although they can be reheated in a very hot oven the day after being made, they’re never quite as good. They’re the perfect sweet treat alongside your morning coffee or with a cup of tea as a mid-afternoon pick-you-up. And, of course, they make a wonderful centrepiece for your festive dessert table.
Although the concept and ingredients for sesame seed balls are easy, they are tricky desserts to make. They have to be continually turned during the frying process to ensure they are round and evenly browned. If you want to try them without the work, let foodpanda bring you desserts from bakeries in Singapore such as The White Ombre, Emicakes and Delifrance.