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How to Roast Sesame Seeds

How to Roast Sesame Seeds | recipe from

Roasted sesame seeds are essential ingredients in many recipes and they are so easy to make. Skip the store-bought variety that’s been sitting on the shelf for eons. It takes just minutes to make roasted sesame seeds at home. Enjoy delicately nutty, nutrient-dense and aromatic roasted seeds as toppings for noodles, salads and desserts or as ingredients in your favorite recipes. Give it a try!

Check out the below recipes using Roasted Sesame Seeds:

Sweet and Salty Sesame Peanut Topping (Muoi Me Dau Phong)

Mooncakes with Coconut Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dua)

Peanut Candy (Keo Dau Phong)

Chewy Sesame Peanut Candy (Keo Me Dau Phong)


1/2 cup raw white sesame seeds


Method 1: Cooking in Skillet

Put the sesame seeds into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water washing away any dust or grit. Toss gently to remove any remaining water.

Transfer the sesame seeds to a skillet. Cook over Medium Low heat stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes or until the sesame seeds are lightly golden.

Transfer to a plate and allow to cool for a 10 minutes.

Store in an air-tight container. The roasted sesame seeds are good for up to 6 months.

How to Roast Sesame Seeds | recipe from

How to Roast Sesame Seeds | recipe from

Method 2: Toasting in an Oven

After washing the sesames seeds, transfer to a cookie sheet and spread out into a thin layer.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes. Stir the sesame seeds every 5 minutes for even toasting.

Watch the seeds carefully around the 12 minute mark as seeds can turn brown and burn very quickly.

Toasted Sesame Seeds | recipe from

Yields: 1/2 cup

How to Roast Sesame Seeds | recipe from

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

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Mooncakes with Coconut Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dua)

Everyone should learn how to make these beautiful cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival!Every year when the Mid-Autumn Festival season approaches, I get giddy thinking about making mooncakes.  First, I love to bake.  Second, I love the artistry of making these cakes.  The entire process from making the filling and dough, rolling and stamping the cakes is such a wonderfully creative process.  Once done, each cake is unique and truly a work of art!

This post shares the recipe for mooncakes with a sweet filling made of shredded coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds–a classic and popular combination.  My recipe is a healthier version using less oil and sugar so you can feel good about making these treats and sharing them with your family and friends.  These mooncakes are so scrumptious and so much fun to make, you’ll definitely want to give this recipe a try.  Happy Mooncake Making!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

I’ve shared other mooncake recipes in prior posts so please check them out for more tips and tricks!

Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)
Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do)
Mooncakes with Salted Egg Yolks (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Trung Muoi)

It’s best to use fresh or frozen coconut.  If using dried coconut, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup water along with the sugar.

If using raw sesame seeds, toast them in a skillet just like the sunflower seeds until they are lightly golden.

The cooked glutinous rice flour is a binder and helps the filling to stick together.  If you don’t have this, it’s okay.  If you work with the filling while it’s warm, you shouldn’t have any problems forming the balls.

If you don’t like peanut oil or have allergies, substitute with a mild-tasting vegetable oil like soybean or canola.

Instead of making the syrup from scratch–very time consuming and difficult to get right, I use breakfast syrup.  Nothing fancy, it’s the Von’s/Safeway brand.  They have two varieties, breakfast Original Syrup and Old-Fashioned Syrup (has molasses and brown sugar) and both are good.  Any variety will work, provided it’s nice and thick.  I also like Lyle’s Golden Syrup which is meant for baking and cooking.  It has a really nice distinct flavor.

General rule: the filling to dough ratio is 2:1.

If the dough is dry, add more peanut oil, a little bit at a time.  The dough should be soft and pliable and slightly sticky.

The below recipe is generous and allows for a margin of imperfection.  If everything goes well, it actually yields 13 mooncakes 🙂

It’s best if the mooncakes are not eaten right away.   Let them rest for 24 hours and the cakes will improve in color, taste and texture.

After a day or two refrigerate the cakes.  You can warm them up in the microwave by cooking on Low for 30 seconds.

Freeze the cakes for up to 3 months.  To serve, allow to thaw at room temperature and then warm in the microwave if desired.

Stamp Molds
Each cake:  2 2/3 oz or 75 grams
Dough:  7/8 oz or 25 grams
Filling:  1 3/4 oz or 50 grams

Egg Molds
Each cake:  1 1/8 oz or 30 grams
Dough:  1/3 oz or 10 grams
Filling:  3/4 oz or 20 grams

I bought these little car and fish molds at the Japanese grocery store.  They are used for pressing rice balls and hard-boiled eggs into cut shapes.  They are so cute and perfect for making fun mooncakes the kiddies will adore!  The trick to using these molds is to coat with a generous amount of flour otherwise, it’s very difficult to remove the cake from the mold.  Use a small brush to remove the excess flour before baking.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong) and Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do).


for the Filling
14 oz frozen shredded coconut, thawed
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup roasted roasted sesame seeds
3 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour
3 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp pomelo essence

for the Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup syrup
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 egg yolk

for Rolling the Cakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

for the Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Each cake:  2 2/3 oz or 75 grams
Dough:  7/8 oz or 25 grams
Filling:  1 3/4 oz or 50 grams


In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut and sugar.  Cover the bowl and let rest for 2 hours.

Use scissors and cut the coconut into shorter strands.

Toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over Low heat until golden, approximately 7-8 minutes.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the coconut mixture and cook for 6-7 minutes stirring frequently.  Add the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cooked glutinous rice flour and water.  Mix together combining well.  Add the pomelo essence and toss together again.  Remove from the heat.

Use a food scale and weigh the filling for one ball.  Roll into a firmly-packed ball.  (See the video for my trick to making perfectly shaped balls.)  Continue until all the filling is used.

Sift together the all-purpose flour and cake flour.  In a small bowl or cup, add the syrup, peanut oil and egg yolk.  Mix together until evenly blended.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the syrup mixture. (Be sure to scrape out all the syrup from the measuring cup.)  Using a fork, combine the flour and syrup mixture together by stirring in circles from the edge of the bowl to the center.  Continue stirring until all the dry flour is worked into the dough.  After a few minutes, a soft dough forms.  Gently knead the dough a few times with your hands.  (Don’t overwork the dough.)  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Line a baking tray with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or parchment paper.

Sift the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. (This is used to dust the molds and make the cakes.)

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead the dough gently for 1-2 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Assemble the mooncake mold with the desired plate and then coat with flour.  Tap the mold to remove the excess flour.

Use a food scale and weigh the dough needed for one cake.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Using a rolling pin, flatten into a 3-inch circle.  Place a filling ball in the center and then gently work the dough around the filling covering it completely.  Pinch the dough together to seal the edges.  Roll between your palms until smooth.

Place the ball in the mold.  Pressing gently, work the ball down and into the mold.  Use your palm and fingers to press the cake evenly into the mold.  Prick a few holes in the cake using a toothpick to allow the steam to escape when baking.  Place the mold down on the work surface.  Press down on the plunger for a few seconds.  Lift the mold off the work surface and then push down on the plunger to release the cake.  Transfer the cakes to the baking tray.  Continue until all cakes are made.

Use a small pastry brush to remove the excess flour from the cakes.

Position the oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the cakes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Spritz each cake with water.

To make the egg wash, combine egg yolk, water and sesame oil.  Strain the mixture.  Brush each cake with the egg wash, coating it evenly.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Return the cakes to oven and bake for 7-8 minutes or until the tops are just golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Store in an air-tight container.

Enjoy the mooncakes the following day. 🙂

Yields: 12 mooncakes

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

These mooncakes have a sweet filling made of coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds. Yum!Recipe twist: Use egg molds to make these cute mooncakes!

Beautiful mooncakes--ready to be baked!

Homemade mooncakes--beautiful and so much fun to make!Looking for more mooncake recipes?  Check out these other recipes:

Piggy Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong)

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)

Snowskin Mooncakes Part 2: Making the Dough and the Cakes (Cach Lam Vo Banh)

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Chewy Sesame Peanut Candy (Keo Me Dau Phong)

A homemade treat that's perfect for gift-giving.

I shared a brittle version of this candy not too long ago.  (Check out the link for my Peanut Candy recipe.)  After posting the brittle recipe, I received numerous requests for the chewier version, so here it is–finally.  This recipe for Chewy Sesame Peanut candy is softer and more tender for those who don’t like hard candy or fear cracking a tooth on these delights.  The Viet version of this candy, Keo Me Xung, is made with only sesame seeds.  I love the coupling of sesame seeds and peanuts and modified the traditional recipe.  If you’d like to make an all sesame seeds version, just substitute the peanuts for sesame seeds.  The rest of the recipe is the same.  Feel free to also use any combination of nuts you like.  Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Cooking the sugar is the trickiest part of this recipe and you may have to make this a few times before getting the consistency just right.  If the sugar is not cooked enough, the candy will be gooey and not hold its shape.  Cook the sugar too long and you’ll have brittle instead of a chewy candy.  The best ways to tell if the sugar is cooked just right is to:  1) check the color–the syrup should be the color of honey and 2) check the consistency–the syrup should bead off a spoon rather than stream off it indicating it has reached the appropriate thickness.  (If you have a candy thermometer that can provide a quick read, the sugar should reach the Firm-Ball Stage, temperature is 245°F – 250°F.)

Be attentive as the syrup nears the 5 minute cooking window as it turns dark very quickly from this point on and can burn quite easily.  As soon as the syrup reaches the golden, honey color, add the lemon juice right away.   The lemon juice helps to suspend the syrup in its current candy state.  Add the lemon juice quickly and be careful as the syrup may splatter.

Stir the tapioca and water mixture before adding to the syrup as the contents tend to settle.  Again, as with the lemon juice, pour the mixture quickly into the pan and then stir vigorously.  The tapioca starch turns from opaque to translucent when it’s cooked.

For faster cooling, place the candy in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Store any uneaten candy in an air-tight container. The candy is good for up to 2 weeks.

This candy is a really popular sweet treat for Lunar New Year and you can easily make little goody bags or boxes for gift-giving.  Individually wrap the candies using plastic wrap or parchment paper to make tasty little bon bons.  Alternatively, use small cookie cutters to cut the candy into fun shapes and then place on mini cupcake liners for cute little treats.  As Lunar New Year often falls close to Valentine’s Day, I decided to turn these candies into little V-Day treats.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Peanut Candy (Keo Dau Phong) and Asian-Inspired Caramel Apples.


1/2 cup roasted roasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup water + 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts


Add the tapioca starch to 1/3 cup water and stir until mixture is smooth.  Set aside for now.

Line a 9×6 inch pan with parchment paper.  Drizzle vegetable oil into the pan and then use a brush to coat the paper with the oil.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sesame seeds into the pan.  Tilt and gently shake the pan to distribute the sesame seeds making sure to cover the bottom of the pan completely.

Place a small saucepan over High Heat.  Add vegetable oil, sugar and water.  Stir together dissolving the sugar while bringing the mixture to a boil.  (This takes approximately 2 minutes.)

As soon as the syrup starts to boil, stop stirring.  Cook the syrup for 5 minutes or until it thickens and turns a light honey color.  Reduce the heat to Low and cook for another 1 minute or until the syrup turns a honey color.   (Be careful with this step as the sugar cooks very quickly at this point and can get dark and burn if left too long.)  As soon as the honey color is reached, quickly add the lemon juice and stir together.  Stir the tapioca and water mixture and then pour into the syrup along with the vanilla extract.  Stir quickly to combine and cook for another 1 minute.  Add the peanuts and mix well with the syrup.  Cook for another 1 minute and then turn off the heat.

Pour the hot candy into the pan prepared earlier and spread evenly into the pan.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sesame seeds on top.  Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top.  Allow to cool for 3-4 hours.

To serve, remove the candy from the pan, peel away the paper from the edges, cut off the edges (optional) and then cut into 1×1-inch squares.

Yields:  40 pieces

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

A delicious homemade treat for Valentine's Day!

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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).


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


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




Sesame Balls with Pumpkin Filling | recipe from
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Sweet and Salty Sesame Peanut Topping (Muoi Me Dau Phong)

Toasted sesame seeds, crushed roasted peanuts, a little sugar and a bit of salt–a simple combination that just excites my taste buds.  This delicious topping is commonly enjoyed on various sticky rice (xoi, a staple in the Viet diet) dishes and desserts.  I always have this sweet and savory mixture handy in my cupboard.  2 spoonfuls of this addicting peanut and sesame medley on top of sticky rice or brown rice and I have a quick breakfast or snack.  This recipe is as simple as it gets. If you don’t have a mini-food chopper, you can use a blender or simply put everything inside a plastic resealable bag and then use a bottle or rolling pin to crush the peanuts and mix everything together.  (You can use the bag to store it as well.)

Try it as a topping for grilled meats or sprinkle it on sauces and salads for some extra pizazz!

Below are some recipes you can enjoy with this topping:

Sticky Rice and Hominy
Pandan Sticky Rice
Coconut Sticky Rice and Mango
Quick Sticky Rice and Mung Bean
Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup
Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Essential Dipping Sauces

Watch the video below for instructions.


1 cup roasted peanuts
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt


Pulse peanuts in food processor or blender for 10 seconds.  Add sugar, salt and toasted sesame seeds and pulse for another 5-6 seconds.

Store unused portions in air-tight container.

Yields: 1 1/4 cup

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