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Sesame Balls

Sesame balls are a staple in the Asian snack world. They are crunchy, chewy and a little nutty and so addicting. The insides are typically filled with a mung bean filling, but there are varieties made with red bed, black sesame, or even chocolate. Anything you can think of, you can probably stuff it in there. This particular recipe is made with a taro filling with coconut flakes. There’s also coconut milk powder in the dough to give it that extra depth. These sesame balls also keep there shape really well. I made them a few hours in advance of a party and they still looked just as nice as they were right out of the fryer when the party started.

The recipe is a tweak of my mom’s recipe.  There as many ways of making the dough as there are filling. See? I didn’t even follow mom’s recipe exactly. That’s partially because if you’ve ever cooked with a Lao mom you would know that when she gives you instructions, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but when she’s cooking, it looks more than just a little. She was actually very good with this recipe on measurements though, but I still altered a couple of things.


  • When adding the water, add a little bit at a time as the amount of water needed may differ due humidity or whatever else. And make sure to knead the dough and get each addition of water well incorporated before adding more water. As mom said, just put enough to where the dough comes together and it feels like it’s workable in your hands.
  •  When fill the dough and roll it out, if it starts to feel like it’s falling apart in your hands, your dough is uneven and you probably need more dough on one of the sides to patch it up.
  • You can ball up your filling and place it in the flattened dough, but I feel this is an unnecessary step and added time. You can see that I have some balled up mung bean filling in the video, that’s about all I balled up because I didn’t want to spend anymore time on that. Haha.
  • For a mung bean filling recipe, check out the kanom thua paep recipe, which has quite a few components similar to these sesame balls. For the filling, you really don’t need it to be too sweet, as the dough should already be sweet.
  • When frying, if you have an even dough ball, it will almost roll for you in the fryer, but we don’t always get the most even amount of dough over every millimeter of every ball, which will cause the thinner side to float to the top and thicker sides sink of the bottom of the oil. Make sure turn the sesame balls when frying. You may also have to take your spoon and submerge the ball to get it to cook evenly.
  • If you want it a little bit more crunchy, make a thinner dough round. If you want more chewy sesame balls, make a thicker round, which would take an extra minute or two in the fryer. When you have the more chewy sesame balls and don’t color the taro filling, you won’t be able to tell where the dough ends and the filling begins, but it’s all good. 🙂
Sesame Balls

Makes 28-32 balls

1 (16 oz) bag glutinous rice flour
2 Tablespoons rice flour
3 Tablespoons coconut milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup room temperature water (plus more if needed)

In a large bowl, combine flours, coconut milk powder, baking powder, sugar and salt. Slowly add in water, kneading between addition until the dough is soft, smooth and like playdough consistency. You may not need all the water or you make need more water. Make sure you knead the dough to incorporate the water completely before adding any more.

½ lb taro, peeled, sliced and steamed (about 25-30 minutes, fork tender like potato)
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
Purple food coloring if desired

In a medium bowl, mash the steamed taro while it’s hot, add sugar and salt until completely incorporated. Stir in the coconut flakes. Add a drop of food coloring if desired.

To assemble:

½ cup sesame seeds (plus more if needed)
¼ cup (if needed)
Oil for frying

Pour sesame seeds in a plate and set aside a small bowl of water. Flatten an inch of dough ball into a circle about 2 to 2.5 inch wide. Place about a teaspoon or two of filling into the flattened dough. Pinch the edges and roll into a smooth ball. Roll the filled ball on plate of sesame seeds as to completely fill the surface with sesame seeds. If the dough seems to dry, dip it in the water.

Heat up oil in a heavy pan until it reaches 325F. Fry 5 to 6 sesame balls at a time. Make sure to turn the balls when they are still on the bottom of the pan, so they don’t get over cooked on one side. Turn the sesame balls as needed when they float to the top, as thicker sides tend to roll under the oil, while thinner sides will be above the oil, which could lead to uneven cooking and browning. Fry for 6-8 minutes until balls are golden brown. Serve warm.

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