Chinese Lunar New Year is coming soon, so today we are making fried sesame ball – 芝麻煎堆. This is a popular snack that we will make during the spring festival. My mom makes them every year. They are the best when nice and hot. It is like a deep-fried mochi ball. The outside is crispy, and the inside is soft and gooey. There is a lucky saying in Cantonese – 煎堆碌碌，金银满屋, which means with the sesame ball rolling and rolling, gold and cash will fill up your house. As a new year item, this little snack carries our best wishes, and I wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy new year.
In a saucepot, add 140 grams of coconut milk and 100 grams of sugar. Put on the lid and turn the heat to low. Swirl the pot slightly to dissolve the sugar. We will bring this to a simmer.
Slowly pour the coconut milk sugar solution into 140 grams of glutinous rice flour. Use a spatula to stir it while pouring. Soon the rice flour will turn into a thick paste.
Add 30-60 grams of glutinous rice flour in batches. Every brand of glutinous rice flour has different water absorption rates, so you will have to add it in a little bit by little. Keep an eye on the consistency. Mix and make it into a smooth nonstick dough.
Add a drizzle of vegetable oil and continue to knead it until the oil is absorbed – like that is perfect. Wrap the dough with a plastic film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
While waiting, we can divide the lotus paste into 16 pieces and shape them into a round, smooth ball. Each of them should be about 12 grams. I did use store-bought lotus paste. That is what we use most of the time in China, especially around the Chinese New Year because every family is super busy preparing for the festival. I do have a demo video of making homemade Lotus paste; if you have the time and attention, you click here to learn how to make your own. Beside lotus paste, you can also use red bean paste or mung bean paste.
By now, the glutinous rice flour dough should be done resting. Divide it into 16 even pieces as well. Each of them should be about 25 grams. Roll them into round smooth ball. Cover them so they get dry.
Take one portion of the glutinous rice dough. Use your thumb to poke in the middle and shape it into a small little bowl. Put in the lotus paste. Then use your forefinger and your thumb to squeeze it around and push the wrapper up. When you get to the very end, just pinch and close it.
Lightly wet your hand with a bit of water and roll the rice ball with both of your hands to get it nice and moist. A little bit of moisture will help the rice ball to pick up the sesame seeds. You just roll it around the sesame bowl. Then roll it again with both of your hands to press the sesame seeds and make sure they stick the surface otherwise they will fall off while deep drying. Glutinous rice ball is really sticky once cooked so the sesame seeds here is not only just for flavor, it also prevents the glutinous rice ball from sticking to the bottom of the cookware.
You need a decent amount of oil to deep fry the sesame balls because they will grow bigger and you want to make sure the oil is enough to cover them otherwise they will not be cooked evenly. Heat the oil to 260 F and add the sesame balls in.
Stir them constantly so you don’t get a burned spot at the part where it contacts the bottom. 260 F is a pretty low temperature. The reason for that is because we want to give enough time to warm up the sesame ball. If the starting temperature is too high, the outside of the glutinous ball will set immediately and create a hard shell that will crack when the inside starts inflating. Then the final result will not come out as pretty.
You just keep the heat at medium-low and allow the temperature to climb up slowly. The total frying will take 12-15 minutes. Once the color changes to a golden brown, you can turn off the heat and take them out.