Recipe Review

Deep-Fried Sesame Balls Are the Crunchy, Chewy Treat You Need

published Feb 13, 2022
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Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

The Lunar New Year brings traditions centered around good fortune and prosperity with friends and family. It is a time to reflect on the previous year and usher in good luck for the coming year. Of course, food is a huge part of this tradition, and who better to show us a classic recipe than acclaimed YouTube chef Angel Wong? Taking to her TikTok, Angel teaches us how to make deep-fried sesame balls with a Nutella filling that are just the crunchy, chewy treat you need. Plus, like other desserts eaten during this time, they represent good luck. And boy, let me tell you, I could use some of that. 

@angelcooksfood Deep Fried Sesame Balls symbolize fullness 🧧 they grow when they’re deep fried. It’s a Lucky Food for CNY! #chinesenewyear #lunarnewyear #asianrecipe ♬ Aesthetic Girl – Yusei

How to Make Deep-Fried Sesame Balls 

You start by sifting glutinous rice flour into a mixing bowl, followed by some cane sugar. Add boiling water and knead well. If you feel like your dough is too dry, add very small amounts of water at a time and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and not too sticky. Place your dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rest while you prepare the filling. 

Next, spread some flour over your cutting board and separate the warm dough into smaller pieces to roll into balls. Flatten out into small disc shapes and add your filling. Traditionally, red bean paste is used for filling, but Nutella makes for a sweet alternative, which is what I used for this recipe. Be sure not to add too much, though — you want to leave enough dough to be able to pinch the edges together and seal shut. Roll into a smooth ball and then roll on a plate of white sesame seeds. 

Preheat some oil for deep-frying, and submerge the sesame balls for a few minutes until they begin to float and are golden-brown. Using a spoon, push the balls down into the oil as they expand and puff up. Let them fry for a couple more minutes, until they are the desired amount of golden-brown. Remove from the oil and place on a rack to cool off for about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy! 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of Deep-Fried Sesame Balls 

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Admittedly, I had to try this out a couple of times before finding success. Going into it, I knew that I was attempting something new, so I had an open mind and brought my willingness to fail. I enjoyed learning the process of working with rice flour, and the 20 minutes of prep work totally paid off when I finally got it right.

In the end, this recipe taught me another lesson about cooking: The key to success is being able to fail, learn from your mistakes, and take a new approach until you reach your goals. This traditional Lunar New Year treat is entirely worth the labor and makes a perfect snack for any time of day. I will definitely make these again and I am so thankful for Angel Wong and her easy-to-follow recipe. I learned some things I did not know, and I am thrilled to be ushering in good fortune for the new year. For a more detailed video of this recipe, check out Angel’s YouTube page where she highlights some utterly delicious-looking Asian and Taiwanese recipes that you’re not going to want to miss. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

4 Tips for Making Deep-Fried Sesame Balls 

  1. Start with 1/2 cup of water. When making the dough, start with 1/2 cup of water and slowly add water as needed if your dough is too dry. In the end your dough should be smooth, not too wet, and not too sticky. 
  2. Hydration is key. Rice flour does not absorb liquid and fat like wheat flour. For better results, let your dough rest for up to 30 minutes to allow for proper hydration.  
  3. Go easy on the filling. Depending on the size of your balls, you’ll want to be careful not to add too much filling. Make sure your filling is properly sealed inside before adding to the deep fryer to prevent potential leaks. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to crank up the heat. To get that beautiful golden-brown color, increase the temperature on your oil for the last couple of minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.