Sesame Ball (Zeen Duy)

Cora’s second dish is Sesame Ball (Zeen Duy). Sesame balls can be found in many Chinese bakeries. Chinese believe if you eat sesame balls, your fortunes will expand like the dough expands when it fries.

I like Zeen Duy a lot and remember the days in Malaysia where I always stop and buy some when I see it. In Malaysia, they are usually sold at roadside stores. The ones in Malaysia were huge — like 3 inches in diameter. I miss those stuff a lot. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have tasted sesame seed balls in Canada, although they are served in some dim sum restaurants.


The Sesame Ball is very light and is practically filled with air on the insides. This is a plain sesame ball but it is also common to have a little bit of fillings of stuff like red bean paste. Anyhow, the plain ones is just as nice because the main flavor of sesame seed is in the crunchiness of the fried sesame seed.


  • 1 package of glutinous rice flour (227g)
  • 2 slabs of brown sugar (peen tong)
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of hot water
  • White sesame seeds for coating
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sake (Japanese wine); optional



Heat a big wok of oil to medium low.

Dissolve the brown sugar slabs in the hot water. Set aside to let it cool.

_MG_5633_edited-1In a large bowl, add the glutinous rice flour. Slowly add in the brown sugar syrup. Do not dumb in all the syrup at once as you might not need all depending on the consistency of the dough. The dough should not be too wet.
_MG_5635_edited-1This is where you need to get your hand to work. Mix and knead the dough with your hand as you add the syrup. Add in the sake while kneading the dough. If it gets too wet, just add in more glutinous rice flour.
_MG_5637_edited-1Form the dough into golf ball size pieces. Roll the the ball in sesame seeds to coat the surface completely. Roll the ball in your palms lightly to press in the sesame seeds. Repeat until all the balls are formed.
_MG_5646_edited-1Heat a big wok of oil at medium low heat. Gently drop the sesame ball into the oil for frying. Do not crowd the wok. The sesame balls have to be fried at medium low heat to ensure the dough is cooked thoroughly without burning the outside.The secret in making the sesame balls that expand while frying is to gently press the balls once they float to the surface. The balls will expand as they are gently rotated and pressed. When the balls double in size, you may increase the heat to medium high and fry until golden brown.Place the sesame balls on plate lined with paper towels.

The sesame ball is chewy and nutty by the fragrance of the toasted sesame seeds. Arkensen loves this a lot and I will try to make this at home even though I do not like the idea of deep frying food at home.

Cora, thank you for showing us the technique to make the sesame balls.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. bozette

    That looks so yunny I love sesame seed.

  2. pinger

    i love these! never thought about making them myself.

  3. amanda

    i just love sesame balls but i have never seen a recipe for them! great post!

  4. Deputyheadmistress

    I love those! I miss them so much- nobody around here serves them (we live in the midwest).

    I like the red bean paste filled ones best.

    Thanks for sharing this, thank-you, thank-you!!

  5. Lea


    I have been looking for this recipe forever. It is one of my absolute favorites in dim-sum, I only know what it is called in Cantonese, but no idea how to spell it so any searches were futile. I just happened across this recipe in your blog and I am overjoyed! thank you!!!

  6. jade

    thanks for the recipe along with the step by step photos. i really appreciate it!!!

  7. tastesofhome

    yours look so tasty! I miss these too – cant wait to get some when I’m back in Msia during CNY – I like mine with red bean paste but agree with you that plain ones are delish too! 🙂

  8. Jon Looi

    thanks for recent recipe uploaded, my wife just love it. We will try to get this for coming weekend. Thanks

  9. yuki

    What are slabs or brown sugar? all ive ever seen are boxes… sory stupid question thank you!!!

  10. Andy

    Thank you for your hospitality, but I do not understand how can you form the dough like a ball shape and inside empty, pls. Let me know your secret. Thank you.

  11. HM

    Hi Suanne,

    Question: How come when I fry the rice balls, they kinda burst another small one on the side? Is it the temp of my oil or what have I done wrong?

    1. Suanne

      Hi HM, I’m sorry I do not why small bubble burst out during the frying.

  12. Christine

    What does sake do to the sesame ball? Does it makes it big? I am concern brown sugar gets brown color too fast in the deep fried. Can I use white sugar instead? How much?
    I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thank you!

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