Sesame Balls (Jian Dui) with red bean paste

Side Dishes

Sesame Balls (Jian Dui) with red bean paste

Also called Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year celebrates the beginning of the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. And along with the celebration comes food that carries a lot of symbolism. Fried Sesame Balls, also called "smiling mouth cookies," symbolize luck with their round shape and golden color, and the way they grow in size when fried also represents happiness and prosperity.

If you've never had Sesame Balls before, you're in for a treat. They're crisp and chewy all at once with a sweetened red bean filling — you won't be able to stop at just one.

Be sure to watch our video to learn How to Form and Fry Sesame Balls.


18 sesame balls

Total Time

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Heat water and sugar together in a saucepan over medium to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar; stir in flour.

Add sesame oil, then knead until dough is smooth. Transfer dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let dough come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (If dough is sticky, knead in more flour; if it's dry, knead in more water.)

Roll dough into an 18-inch log; cut into 18 pieces. Roll one dough piece into a ball, then shape into a “pot”, flouring hands as necessary. Scoop 2 tsp. bean paste into center of dough "pot", then seal dough around paste and reroll into a ball.

Dip dough ball into a dish of water, then into a dish of sesame seeds and gently press the seeds into the dough to coat completely. Repeat assembly until all dough pieces and paste are used.

Heat several inches vegetable oil in a wok or saucepan to maintain a temperature of 325°.

Fry sesame balls, in 2 batches, turning constantly. (Sesame balls will sink when added to the hot oil. Keep moving them around until they float to the top.) Gently press and roll balls with a mesh skimmer or heatproof spatula against the side of the wok until lightly golden, 1415 minutes. Drain sesame balls on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Watch our video to see How to Form and Fry Sesame Balls


To be sure the sesame balls cook evenly, use a ruler as a guide to cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.


So the bean paste doesn't leak out of the dough ball, be sure to carefully seal the dough around it.


Gently press and roll sesame balls against the side of the wok to thin the dough, helping them cook.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per sesame ball

Calories: 148

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 6g 9%

Saturated Fat 1g 5%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 7mg 0%

Carbs 21g 7%

Protein 2g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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