• These are especially popular during Chinese New Year season. This is one of the more difficult Chinese recipes. The balls need to be turned continuously in the hot oil in order to expand evenly, and this takes practice. You may not end up with the perfect balls sold in Chinese bakeries, but they will still be delicious.

    Sesame-seed balls

    Serves: 12
    Cooking Time: 40 mins


    • 150g (¾ cup) brown sugar
    • 250ml (1 cup) boiling water
    • 400g rice flour
    • 250ml (1 cup) red bean paste
    • oil, for deep-frying
    • 125ml (½ cup) sesame seeds



    Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water.


    Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the sugar water and stir until you have a sticky, caramel-coloured dough.


    Pinch off a piece of dough roughly the size of a golf ball. Use your thumb to make a deep indentation in the dough and then form the dough into a cup.


    Roll 5ml (1 tsp) of the bean paste into a ball. Place the paste in the hollow and shape the dough over the top to seal. Make sure the paste is completely covered. Repeat for the remaining dough (you may not need all the bean paste).


    In a wok or deep frying pan, heat the oil to very hot.


    Spread the sesame seeds over a piece of baking paper.


    Pour a little water into a shallow bowl and dip each dough ball into the water, then roll each ball over the sesame seeds to coat well. Deep-fry the balls a few at a time in the hot oil.


    Once the sesame seeds turn light brown, use the back of a spatula or a large ladle to gently press and turn the balls against the side of the wok or pan. Continue applying gentle pressure as the balls turn golden brown and expand. Drain on paper towel and serve warm.