Sunday marks the beginning of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration. In China, the New Year’s Eve dinner is so important that if family members cannot attend, empty seats are kept to symbolize their presence.

Confections like these Sweet Sesame Balls are served to wish good fortune to all. Today’s ingredients, except those noted, should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Sweet Sesame Balls

Serves 5 (2 sesame balls each)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sweet lotus paste (available at Asian grocery stores; red bean paste can be substituted if you cannot find it)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 7 cups cooking oil
  • Powdered sugar
  • Mint leaves

Group A

  • 1 cup sweet rice flour (available at Asian grocery stores)
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoon baking powder
  1. Pour flour in mixing bowl. Boil water and mix with flour. Add Group A ingredients to the bowl and mix together.
  2. Form 10 balls out of the mixture and pound flat.
  3. Place 2 teaspoons of sweet lotus paste in each flattened ball; roll into a ball shape again. Roll balls in sesame seeds.
  4. Heat oil to medium-low heat in wok and place balls inside. Deep-fry for about four minutes, or until outside is golden brown and balls float on top of oil.
  5. Remove balls and set on plate. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve with mint.

Book Pick of the Day: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai

Recipe and photo courtesy of Panda Express