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Sesame Seed Balls (Jian Dui)

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Sesame seed balls or simply sesame balls or Jian Dui in Mandarin is a Chinese sweet. They are made of glutinous rice flour and filled with different fillings like black sesame paste, red bean paste, crushed peanuts paste or lotus seed paste (traditional style) sweetened with sugar. They are often described as sweet, crispy on the outside and chewy inside. These sesame seed balls are eaten all year round and are extremely popular during special occasions like Chinese New Year and birthdays as they represent happiness, laughter and good and expanding fortune due to the expanding balls when cooking them and their golden colour. For my gluten free recipe, I am using homemade gluten free black sesame paste as my fillings. This recipe is also vegan, dairy free, nut free, soy free, corn free, egg free and refined sugar free.

The history of sesame seed balls can be discovered all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when they were regarded as an imperial palace food in Chang’an, China. Then this Chinese sweet spread out to other regions of China and Jian Dui turned into a Southern Chinese cuisine. In modern day, sesame balls are commonly served at yum cha restaurants as a sweet dim sum or dim sum dessert and are also sold at Chinese bakeries worldwide. Some Chinese bakeries serve up super sized sesame balls as well. Furthermore, they are a popular street (hawker) food in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

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