Picture of Dim Sum sesame balls
After I ate dim sum sesame balls in a local restaurant for the first time, I had to go back to the restaurant again and again just to eat sesame balls until the idea of making it myself hit me. It's just fried balls made of some kind of flour, with red bean paste filling, sesame seeds sticking on the surface, can't be that difficult to make, right?


After some work, I got a recipe from somebody in food industry. I was excited. When I put the balls in hot oil, after a couple of minutes, they all popped open, released filling to oil. It was a hot mess. After that, I thoroughly searched internet for different versions of the recipe. Unfortunately there aren't many. All recipes on internet use similar ingredients with similar proportions. Something was odd. I had to keep going to the restaurant to eat it and even became friends with the owner. But she was no help because she buys them pre-made, all she does is frying them. Even if she makes them, I doubt she would give me her recipe as it may be her trade secret.

Meanwhile I happened to see Rachel Ray making them (no filling as I remember), which made me even more determined to nail this recipe to have sesame balls to eat for the rest of my life at any time and to boost my ego :-). 

Because I didn't have a fryer at that time, I used a regular stir fry wok. I suspected the reason for explosion was due to no temperature control  of the frying oil. So I bought a fryer, tried frying temperatures at relatively high, low and in between, still balls exploded. Boy, I must have wasted tons of oil and still didn't give up.

So I put on my food scientist cap and gave the ingredients and proportions a close look , considering the interaction and function of fat, starch, and protein during cooking. I decided to replace one ingredient on the recipe.  It worked like magic! I did it!

I have been making my own red bean paste ever since, tried minced meat filling and fortune (for fun, not edible). I'm sharing all three in this Instructables.

Warning: If you are not entertaining troops or feeding crowds, scale down, baby, following all steps of this Instructables will give you about 160 balls, 24 or more muffins and some creamy bean paste for bread spread.
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LARS Design2 years ago
Just made my first batch of sesame balls (bean paste) from your recipe! I cut the recipe by a fourth to make a small batch (for the first try) and they were great! Just like you I wanted to learn how to make them after I ate them the first time. Thanks for sharing your recipe! Congratulations!
babybayrs (author)  LARS Design2 years ago
Congratulations on success at first try!

Congratulations on First Place! I just went to vote for you and saw you had already won. I can't wait to try these out myself. I love sesame balls with red bean filling at our local asian restaurants - one buffet serves them so I can pig out easily, and another restaurant sells them for 50 cents each. I buy them at our local Asian grocery at 24 balls for $3.99. I haven't seen the estimated cost of yours, but I bet it's MUCH less! Thank you.

babybayrs (author)  walkntrot.ranch6 months ago

Right, it was almost 2 years ago. I make the red bean filling myself too which is tedious if you don't make it often. Cost wise, if you don't consider the time and labor, making yourself could be cheaper. Otherwise, the store bought sesame balls easily beat home made. But home made sesame balls tasted way better. Let me know how it turns out.

sabu.dawdy2 years ago
'Well deserving' is a very small word I guess for winning two grand prizes by the same ible. This is rare & pure awesomeness. Congratulations!!!!! Wowwww...simply mind blowing.
babybayrs (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 years ago
Hope such awesomeness will happen to more authors who share what they achieve for public to use or step on. With the prizes, maybe my dream for food business is more real than I sometimes doubt.
xpat732 years ago
Double Congratulations! For the two wins on one ible
babybayrs (author)  xpat732 years ago
Thanks. I'm still in disbelief.
groovymama2 years ago
babybayrs (author)  groovymama2 years ago
Thanks. Now pressure is on.
Congratulations!! , well deserved :)
babybayrs (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 years ago
Thanks very much!
bajablue2 years ago
Beautiful work, babybayrs!
babybayrs (author)  bajablue2 years ago
Thanks a lot!
normalicy2 years ago
Thanks so much. I've always wanted a good recipe for these. I can't wait to try them. And I completely understand how you feel when you are giving away a good recipe.
babybayrs (author)  normalicy2 years ago
Give it a try. I think they taste better than the restaurant's and a lot better than the per-made ones.
I appreciate your understanding.
HollyMann2 years ago
Great job - I've never had these before. They look delicious and I love your determination to master this recipe! Awesome!
babybayrs (author)  HollyMann2 years ago
It's one of the dim sum items. I haven't had them before either until a few years ago.
Try them and see.
DeeRilee2 years ago
I've got to try this recipe!!!! <3

By the way, I voted and I'm 'pinning' this on Pinterest! I know folks are going to love seeing this recipe!
babybayrs (author)  DeeRilee2 years ago
Thanks for the vote and extra pinning work! Appreciated.
albertip2 years ago
Separate the filling into the appropriate size and then freeze the filling. This will make it much easier to wrap. You can also use M&M or any candy as the filling. Experiment!
babybayrs (author)  albertip2 years ago
Separating filling to approximate size and freezing them before use will help with the minced meat filling. The red bean paste is already kneaded and cut in little squares, they can be picked up, won't break. It'll be interesting to know how M&M or any other candy used as filling measues up with red bean paste and minced meat filling. One of the reasons I go extra miles to make my own red bean paste is I don't like the syrupy texture of the commercial filling.
Have you tried the black sesame filling? Another typical filling is lotus seed paste. In fact any bean can be processed similar to the red bean paste for filling. Both black sesame and lotus seed paste are available in most Chinese grocery.

Your instructable can also be adapted into a watery desert 湯圓. By avoiding the frying, there is less fat in the desert.

1. Don't coat the finished balls with sesame.
2. Prepare a sugar based "soup", e.g. a few slices of fresh ginger with a small piece of brown sugar.
3. Measure about 3/4 bowl of water and bring the ingredients in (2) to boil.
4. Add the 8 balls. It is done when the balls are floating.
Serve one, warm or hot.
babybayrs (author)  albertip2 years ago
Thanks for the info. I may try lotus seed paste later. I have seen black sesame filling in the watery sesert 汤圆, which is good for a cold winter afternoon in house eating. The beauty of the fried balls is they are portable, can be taken anywhere and eat anywhere.
If you want to bring 湯圓 to somewhere, you can have the cooked 湯圓 and the sugar soup in separate keep warm flasks. Just put 湯圓 back to the soup to consume.

湯圓 stands for 湯 the soup and 圓 the round ones. They are a must have in the Winter solstice, kind of like the Thanksgiving in USA.

Good instructable.
nice tip thanks, I was wondering about that.
evacooper2 years ago
i don;t think i'll ever make these, but i voted for you in both contests because it looks so pretty.
babybayrs (author)  evacooper2 years ago
Thanks for voting for the pretty-ness. Maybe the pretty-ness will make you lean in one day.
spedteacher2 years ago
These are my favorite at our local chinese restaurant. I wondered how to make these every time I ate them. Now I know. Thank you for your contribution. You have my votes!
babybayrs (author)  spedteacher2 years ago
Thanks for the vote. Wondering is a good start. Now your wonder is answered.
ccrowe12 years ago
All I can say is ........ THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU , I def voted for you ....... good luck
babybayrs (author)  ccrowe12 years ago
Thanks you a lot too.
LQOTW2 years ago
Oh man! I have LOVED these silly little things for years! Many thanks for the instructions. One question: The second ingredient in the Minced Meat filling says, "I/2 vegetable or Beef boullion"...1/2 what? Cup? Can? Oil Drum? (Hope not that...the sodium would be a killer!).
babybayrs (author)  LQOTW2 years ago
Good question. It was a long Instructable and late night. I missed typing one word: cube. It's "I/2 vegetable or Beef boullion cube". If you are concerned of the sodium, you can ommit. Feel free to miss out, mess around or add in ingredients in that filling.
sitearm2 years ago
@Babybayrs; Hi! I have tweeted this. Thank you for the recipe. Cheers! : ) Site
babybayrs (author)  sitearm2 years ago
Thanks for tweeting about it. This recipe means a lot to me. I'm surprised it means a lot to others too.
Kudos on the most appropriate use of the phrase "hot mess" ever!
babybayrs (author)  OccamsToothbrush2 years ago
Thanks for taking time to notice and comment.
abickers2 years ago
"If you tried making them and didn't like them, you simply need to make them again and get better at it." Too funny, and so true! Will have to give this a shot, I love the red bean ones, but have only seen them at one chinese place here...I do have to wonder if they can be frozen before you fry them, and then just thaw how ever many you need before cooking...thanks for the recipe, and I've voted for you
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