• Sesame balls with red bean paste filling (Andrew Dorn)Source: Andrew Dorn

These plump, donut-like sweets are just the thing you need with a fresh cup of tea. 






Skill level

Average: 2.8 (59 votes)


  • 100 g (½ cup) brown sugar
  • 170 ml (⅔ cup) boiling water, plus extra if required
  • 320 g (2 cups) glutinous rice flour, plus extra, for dusting
  • ⅔ cup sweet red bean paste
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 75 g (½ cup) white sesame seeds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Place the brown sugar in a bowl and stir in the boiling water.

2. Place the rice flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and gradually add the dissolved sugar and water mixture. Use your hands to stir until the dough comes together, adding more hot water if required.

3. Transfer the dough to a dry work surface and knead until it forms a soft dough. Lightly dust with more glutinous rice flour and roll into a cylinder shape. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round the size of a golf ball. Gently press out into a disc and lightly dust with a little more glutinous rice flour. Place 1 teaspoon of sweet red bean paste in the centre of the disc and shape the dough over the top to seal. Make sure the paste is completely covered. Continue with the remaining dough and filling.

4. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-based saucepan to 170˚C-180˚C. Make sure there is enough volume to cover the balls. Spread the sesame seeds over a piece of baking paper. Place a small bowl of water beside the sesame seeds.

5. Dip each ball into some water, then roll in the sesame seeds. The water helps the seeds to stick to the outside of the dough. Cooking in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, deep-fry the sesame seed balls for about 5 minutes, turning them gently with chopsticks or a spatula to cook evenly. When the sesame seeds are golden and the balls have puffed up, remove and drain on paper towel. Best eaten warm.

Diana Chan and guests explore the flavours of Asia from her Melbourne home in the second series of Asia Unplated.