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Sesame Balls (Banh Cam)

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam) | recipe from runawayrice.comMaking these delicious Sesame Balls is an activity the whole family can enjoy.  This is one of those recipes where it helps to have lots of helping hands.  Set up an assembly line where someone can roll the balls, the kiddies can apply the sesame seeds and someone can fry the balls.  Of course, you’ll have lots of volunteers for the eating part.  The recipe makes 1 dozen good-sized sesame balls but you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Different brands of glutinous rice flour yield different results.  Test the dough by stretching it slightly.  If it cracks, it’s too dry so add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time.  The dough should be soft and smooth and not sticky.

Gently press the sesame seeds into the ball or they will pop off when they are immersed in the hot oil.

The rule for frying these balls is to have the oil level slightly higher than the height of the balls.  You can use less oil if you use a smaller pan but you’ll have to fry in several batches.  If you’re making a double recipe, let’s say for a party, buy lots of oil and fry in a large wok.

Getting the oil temperature just right is probably the trickiest part of cooking these balls to perfection.  Keep in mind that once the oil reaches the desired temperature of 315 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll have to turn down the heat slightly to keep it at this temperature.  If the oil is too hot, the balls will cook too quickly.  The dough will be over-cooked on the outside but raw on the inside.  I use a thermometer to get the oil temperature just right.  If you don’t have one, you can test the oil by dipping chopsticks into the oil.  If small bubbles form gently around the tips of the chopsticks, the oil is the right temperature.  The bubbles should be gentle and not splatter and form vigorously indicating the oil is too hot.  If the latter is the case, lower the heat and try again in a few minutes.

Refrigerate what is not eaten at the end of the day.  The best way to reheat the balls is to pop them in the toaster oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-6 minutes.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Hollow Donuts (Banh Tieu).

Ingredients

12 filling balls
1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup potato flakes + 1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups glutinous rice flour
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Directions

In a measuring cup, combine sugar with the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  In a large bowl, add the boiling water to the potato flakes.  Stir until the potatoes are thick and creamy.  Add the glutinous rice flour, rice flour, baking powder, oil and syrup.  Mix together working in the dry flour until a soft dough forms.  Knead the dough gently with your hands.  If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 Tbsp at a time.  The dough should be soft and smooth, not wet and sticky.   (The additional water varies with the type of glutinous rice flour used.  I typically add  2-3 Tbsp more.)  Cover dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch log.  Cut the log in half and then cut each section in half again making 4 equal sections.  Cut each of the sections into 3 equal pieces making 12 pieces all together.

Take a section of dough and flatten making approximately a 3-inch circle. Flatten the edges of the dough so it’s slightly thinner than the middle.  Place a filling ball in the center.  Wrap the dough around the ball pinching together the ends sealing the filling completely.  Roll the ball between your palms to form a smooth ball.

Roll the ball in sesame seeds covering the dough completely.  Gently roll the ball between your palms pressing the sesame seeds into the dough.

Over Medium heat, heat oil until the temperature is 315 degrees Fahrenheit.  Turn down heat slightly to Medium Low.  Carefully drop the sesame balls into the hot oil.  Cook for 1 minute and then rotate the balls.  After 3 minutes the balls float to the top.  Fry balls for another 5-7 minutes rotating them in the oil so they brown evenly.  When they are golden brown, remove from pan and place on paper towels and allow to cool slightly.

Enjoy while warm!

Yields:  1 dozen

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam) | recipe from runawayrice.com

 

 

 

Sesame Balls with Pumpkin Filling | recipe from runawayrice.com
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Sweet Fillings for Desserts and Pastries: Mung Bean and Coconut, Pumpkin Spice (Nhan Dau Xanh, Nhan Bi Do)

Mung Bean and Pumpkin Filling Balls | recipe from runawayrice.comThis recipe is a two-parter.  In Part 1, below, I share the recipe for making a sweet mung bean and coconut filling–a more traditional recipe.  If you’re looking for a different fusion of flavors, check out my second filling recipe where I use pumpkin.  In Part 2 (to be released next week), I use these fillings to make scrumptious Sesame Balls.  The mung bean balls are familiar and delicious but my favorite is the pumpkin filling.  I love the combination of pumpkin and spice and the flavors go so well with the fried sweet dough.  It is decadent and I hope you’ll give it a try!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The key to making a good filling is cooking it just right so it’s not too dry or too wet   If it’s too dry you won’t be able to roll it into a ball.  If it’s too wet, it becomes difficult to encase with a layer of dough as it will stick to your fingers and the dough.  Also keep in mind, moisture content is different when using freshly mashed mung bean versus previously frozen and thawed mung bean.  I always have to add more water to the previously frozen mung bean to get the balls to form nicely.  If you want a creamy, richer taste, you can always add more vegetable oil as I only use a minimal amount in my recipe.  The pumpkin filling has more moisture and the cooking time is longer.  Please note these balls tend to be wetter than the mung bean balls.  For the pumpkin filling, if I have the time, I’ll refrigerate overnight.  This helps to dry them out further.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do), Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1: Making the Syrup and Taro Root Filling (Banh Deo: Cach Nau Nuoc Duong, Lam Nhan Khoai Mon) and Salted Egg Yolks.

Mung Bean and Coconut Filling

Ingredients
9 oz mashed mung bean
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Directions

Combine water and sugar over Low heat until sugar is dissolved.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the mashed mung bean, simple syrup, oil and vanilla extract.

Mix together forming a thick paste.  Continue stirring the filling as it cooks.  After 3-4 minutes the filling dries and has the consistency of a thick dough.  Turn off the heat and add in the coconut flakes.  Combine well.

When filling is cool enough to handle, roll into even-sized balls.  (It’s easier to roll into balls when the filling is still warm.)  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields:  1 dozen balls


Pumpkin Spice Filling

Ingredients

15 oz can pureed pumpkin
2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vegetable oil

Directions

Combine water and brown sugar over Low heat until sugar is dissolved.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the pureed pumpkin, all spices, vanilla extract, oil and melted sugar.  Mix together.

Stirring frequently, cook the filling for 10-12 minutes or until it has the consistency of a thick dough.

When the filling is cool enough to handle, roll into even-sized balls.  (It’s easier to roll into balls when the filling is still warm.)  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields:  1 dozen balls

Mung Bean Filling Balls | recipe from runawayrice.com

*This post contains affiliate links.

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