Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Red bean paste is a wonderful dessert ingredient from East Asia. To me it tastes a bit like chocolate, though less strong and more fruity, and at the same time somewhat deeper, almost earthy in flavor.
Cherry complements chocolate well, and I thought it would also work well with red bean paste. My suspicions were wonderfully confirmed in a red bean paste and cherry bbang recipe that I made. After making these delightful Korean-inspired treats, I had a fair amount of the filling left over, since I could only put a limited amount into each pastry. I decided to use the leftover filling in another East Asian pastry—this time, Chinese sesame balls.
I love Chinese sesame balls, regardless of what filling they contain. Little balls of deliciously soft and chewy dough, encasing delicious filling, with nutty sesame seeds on the outside—fried food at its best!
I thought I'd try making a red bean paste and cherry version of sesame balls, which doesn't seem to have been done before, and I was just as pleased with the results as I thought I would be! The dough was sweet and chewy, there were toasty notes of sesame, and the filling was fruity and rich—it all blended so wonderfully. Not being particularly traditional, I threw on some powdered sugar afterwards, and I thought that these sweet little clumps of powder were a great addition.
This recipe is very good to make after the previously mentioned bbang recipe or vice versa, since both use around half of the filling that is recommended.
I had run into the problem with this recipe of having too little flour relative to the amount of water I'd added, which meant I had to add some additional flour. It wasn't glutinous rice flour, but rather almond flour and some regular rice flour. This recipe, however, adjusts for this and is correct, but won't make the same quantity of dough as is shown in the photos.
This recipe is based on The Spruce Eats.
- 1 pound glutinous rice flour
- Oil, for frying
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- Additional water for soaking
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 pound red bean paste
- 1/2 (15-ounce) can cherries
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and 3/4 cup of boiling water. Mix together. If needed add in more water, to make a syrup, but be careful about the amount. It is easier to add more water later than to try to take the water out, after all!
- Place the rice flour in a large bowl, and then pour in the syrup. Mix to make a sticky but malleable dough, using your hands or a wooden spoon.
- In a separate bowl, combine the cherries, cherry juice, and red bean paste, mixing thoroughly with a spoon until they are all combined.
- Break off golf ball-sized chunks, round them into balls, and make an indentation. Use a spoon to put some of the filling into this, then either fold the rest of the dough back over the top, or put a patch of dough on it. Repeat until all of the dough is used.
- Pour the sesame seeds out on parchment paper, then put some water in a bowl. Soak the dough balls in the water, then roll in the sesame seeds. Repeat until all of the balls are covered in sesame seeds.
- In a wok or a deep fryer, add enough oil to at least mostly cover the sesame balls when they are added. Heat the oil to a temperature such that when the dough balls are added they fizz aggressively.
- Fry the sesame balls, in batches if necessary, until they are golden brown on the exterior, perhaps around 10 minutes. Remove, drain on paper towels, and preferably eat while hot or warm, but they can also be eaten over several following days.