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.
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)
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.
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.