麻糰: Fried Sesame Balls with Lotus Paste


The subtitle of this post is: Noa’s deep frying skills are clearly not up to par.

Her deep frying skills probably never will be up to par, because she’s afraid of being burned by hot oil.

This recipe was going really well until hot oil came into play. Fried sesame balls are made of glutinous rice dough, filled with lotus paste or red bean paste, and coated with sesame seeds. As they’re fried, the sesame balls puff up to form hollow, crispy, deliciously greasy shells. They are snipped into pac-mans with a sharp scissors and served as a traditional dim sum dessert.

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That’s all in theory. Unfortunately, my matuan (or jian dui, depending where in China you are) never puffed up. To start, I scoured the web for recipes, narrowed my choices down, and decided to go with one that included sweet potato, since we had a couple lying around. We only needed 6 ounces of sweet potato, so instead of boiling them, my sister Carmel peeled the potatoes, we cut them up, and stuck them in a bowl of water in the microwave. It felt a little ridiculous to be boiling little chunks of sweet potato in a bowl of water, but they came out fine. The only adjustment I would make to the dough would be to puree the sweet potato instead of just mashing to eliminate some of the stringiness.

When the dough was ready, we cut it into around 20 pieces, flattened them into disks, and filled them with a batch of lotus paste I made from dried lotus seeds. We didn’t have any white sesame seeds, which are traditional, but we figured black seeds would do the job.

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The deep frying part is not really something I want to talk about. I’ll just say that I put on a sweatshirt because I didn’t want to get burnt, and stood over a way-too-full pot of 300 degree oil holding a candy thermometer and sweating out several Bikram classes’ worth of toxins. My matuan didn’t puff. They just sat at the bottom of the saucepan, looking heavy and soaking up oil. Eventually some of them bobbed up to the surface, so I scooped them up and set them out to recover on a bed of paper towel.

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On the plus side, I did get the flavors right. The lotus paste was terrific, better than the first time I made it,  and some of you know that I’ve never met a glutinous rice dough I didn’t like.

I also learned that when I tackle donuts, they’re gonna be baked.




Matuan: Deep Fried Sesame Balls with Lotus Paste

Ingredients:

6 ounces sweet potatos
1 ½ cups glutinous rice flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup hot water
2/3 cup sesame seeds (you may need more)
oil for frying
lotus paste or red bean paste for filling

Peel the sweet potatoes and boil them until tender, then mash them. Sift the glutinous rice flour and flour together then blend together with the sugar and mashed sweet potato. Knead the mixture well and sprinkle in the hot water.
Knead the dough into small balls (16-20) and then roll each ball into a flat round shape. Scoop up a spoonful of lotus paste and roll into a 1 inch ball. Wrap the lotus paste in dough round and pinch the dough together to seal. Roll the filled dough ball between your hands to form a sphere. Coat the balls with cold water, then coat thoroughly with sesame seeds.
Go ask somebody besides me how to deep fry things. Deep fry on a low heat (I haven’t been able to figure out what temperature is best. I tried 300 degrees, but I think hotter would be better). When the dough balls turn light brown, press them gently with a spoon to help them expand. According to Kristy of My Little Space, the frying process will take a little longer more than 5 mins or until you get crispy crust,” and the balls are golden and swollen. Drain and serve.
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8 thoughts on “麻糰: Fried Sesame Balls with Lotus Paste

  1. >My page disappeared, so here goes again. I am Phyllis, your grandmother's friend. She sends me your blogs which I really enjoy. I like to bake, although I don't do much lately. When I saw on the blog that you were considering doing panna cotta, I told Roz that I wished you would.She told me to tell her yourself, so that's what I'm doing. I will try it after you do. Incidentally, I loved your sister's comment.Phyllisamamomma@msn.com

  2. >Phyllis,I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog posts!I am definitely planning to make panna cotta. I'll be sure to let you know when I do.Noa

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