Buchi, also known as sesame balls, are golden, chewy, and extra delicious with sweetened red bean filling. Delicious as a snack or dessert!

If you’ve been wanting to make buchi but are intimidated by what seems to be a complicated process, don’t be! They’re easier to make than you think.

Just read through the tips and tricks below and you’ll be on your way to enjoy golden sesame balls with your favorite drinks.

What is buchi

Buchi is a Filipino adaptation of Jian dui, a Chinese fried pastry made from glutinous rice flour, a sweet filling, and a sesame seed coating. The sticky rice flour is mixed with a liquid (usually water) to form a soft dough, shaped into a ball to encase the filling, and coated in sesame seeds before frying to golden perfection.

Also known in the United States as sesame seed balls, they’re commonly sold at most Asian restaurants, dim sum houses, and bakeshops. They’re golden and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, making a delicious and filling snack or dessert.

About the filling

  • This sesame dumpling is traditionally stuffed with lotus, peanut, or black or red bean paste, but feel to experiment with abundant local ingredients such as purple yam, kamote, and mung beans, as well as innovative options like cheese, chocolate, peanut butter, and yema.
  • Our recipe here uses sweetened red bean or azuki paste made from scratch. It took a bit of work and time to prepare as the beans needed to be soaked and simmered for hours before pureeing to a smooth consistency in a food processor and cooking down into a thick paste on the stovetop. If you want to speed up the process and still enjoy the same sweet, creamy tastes, you can buy prepared azuki pastes or pre-cooked beans at most Asian supermarkets.
  • Process the cooked beans into a fine or chunky paste as desired.
  • Use a small scoop to portion the sweetened mixture and refrigerate until firm to make wrapping in dough easier.

Making the dough

  • Sesame balls are made with glutinous rice flour or malagkit. Make sure it’s sticky rice flour and NOT regular rice flour. Check the print color on the package. Usually, rice flour has red text (R for regular) and green for sticky rice flour (G for glutinous).
  • The flour and water ratio may vary depending on the brand of glutinous rice flour used. To check for the right consistency, pinch a small piece of dough and flatten it with your fingers. If it breaks and falls apart, add more water in one-tablespoon increments as needed. Add more flour as needed if it feels too wet and overly sticky.
  • For a crispier shell, replace ¼ cup of glutinous rice flour with wheat flour.
  • To give the sesame balls a nice color and texture, add about ½ cup of cooked and mashed potato, kamote, or kalabasa to the dough.
  • Cover the balls with a clean kitchen towel or plastic film while assembling to keep them from drying out.

How to make the sesame seeds stick

You can keep the seeds from falling off during frying in three ways. Whatever method you use, make sure the balls are 100% covered in sesame seeds, and there are no bare spots.

  • Very quickly, dip the stuffed balls in a bowl of cold water or use a spray bottle to lightly moisten them before rolling in the seeds.
  • Make an edible glue by dissolving 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour in about ½ cup water, and quickly dip the balls in the mixture.
  • Hydrate the sesame seeds. Place in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold, running water until completely soaked. Drain well until moist but not overly wet and spread on a paper towel. Roll the balls in the sesame seeds.

Quick Tip

You can coat the buchi with white, black sesame seeds, or a combination of both for variety.

Tips for the perfect shape

  • Use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • Use enough oil to allow the balls to float freely to the surface when cooked. Do not overcrowd the pan, and leave room to be able to turn the buchi regularly to ensure even browning.
  • Heat the oil to 320 F and add the balls. The temperature will drop to 300 F, which is gentle enough for the dough to expand without bursting. Continue to cook the balls at 300 F for 10 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent them from sticking. When they begin to float, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and pushing down the balls in the oil. Raise the heat to 350 F and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Frying the sesame balls

The most frustrating part of making buchi is watching your perfectly golden and round sesame balls collapse after cooling.  Follow the tips below on how to keep them from deflating or sagging.

  • Use hot water to “cook” the dough a little. Add the hot sugar water to the flour gradually and combine into a soft, pliable texture. Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes, cover, and let rest for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Watch your measurements! Using too much water will make the balls deflate after frying.
  • Like palitaw, the buchi will float to the surface of the oil when cooked. To help it keep its shape and prevent sagging, continue to cook a few minutes longer using a pair of chopsticks to turn them constantly in the oil for even browning. See the frying steps below.

How to serve

  • Buchi are delicious for breakfast, as a midday snack, or after-meal dessert. Enjoy with coffee, tea, or your favorite drinks.

Storing leftovers

  • Transfer cooked sesame balls in a container or resealable bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Warm up in a toasted oven at 375 F for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • To store uncooked, arrange the balls in a single layer on a baking sheet, wrap them tightly with plastic film, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Deep-fry when ready to serve.

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