Black Sesame Filling
- 130 g black sesame seeds (see note)
- A pinch of white sesame seeds (optional, see note)
- 40 g palm sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
- Scant ¼ tsp salt
- 100-150g ginger (see note)
- 6 cups water
- About 4-6 Tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
- 175 g glutinous rice flour
- ~150-175 ml water
Make the Filling
If using raw sesame seeds, roast them first by adding a pinch of white sesame seeds in with the black, then stir them over medium-low heat in a dry wok or saute pan until the white seeds turn golden. The seeds will smoke a bit; this is normal. Remove from heat and immediately spread them out onto a large plate to cool them down. If you don’t have white sesame seeds, see above.
Grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder for 5-7 seconds until fine. The seeds should start to stick a bit to the bottom of the grinder, but still powdery and not yet oily. Do not over do it or it will turn into tahini! You can also grind them in a mortar and pestle, but this will take a while so grind a little bit at a time.
In a small pot, melt 3 Tbsp coconut oil or butter with sugar and salt over low heat. Once the sugar is melted, turn off the heat and add the ground sesame and mix well. The mixture should come together into a paste that holds together. If it is too runny and you don’t think you can make balls out of them later, grind some more sesame seeds and add them to absorb the liquid. If it is too dry and crumbly and isn’t holding together, add more oil or butter.
Transfer the mix into a bowl and let cool to room temp.
Once the mixture cools, weigh out about 9g of filling, then compress it into a ball (see video for technique). It does not have to be perfect. Cover and freeze until firm.
Make the Ginger Tea
While the filling is cooling, this is a good time to make the ginger tea. Slice the ginger into rounds then pound it in a mortar and pestle until broken and bruised.
Simmer the ginger in water for 20-30 minutes. When done, taste the tea for spiciness. If it is too spicy add more water to dilute, if not enough, you can add more ginger and let it simmer some more until you’re happy with the heat level.
Strain the tea then add dark brown sugar to taste. This tea will keep for at least a week in the fridge.
Make the Dough
Add glutinous rice flour into a mixing bowl. Add a little splash of the water and mix it in with your hand. Then add a splash more water, and continue to mix it in, little by little, until a soft and smooth dough forms.
The dough is good when it no longer sticks to bowl, and it doesn’t stick to your hands. It should be easily pliable like play-dough, but should retain its shape and doesn’t droop when left alone. Be VERY careful not to add too much water as it can go from dough to puddle with just a tiny bit too much water. So when you’re close, add just a tiny bit of water at a time.
Cover and rest the dough for at least 15 mins.
Wrap the Dumplings
Oil the palms of your hands.
Pinch off 12g- 13g of dough, then roll it into a ball. At this point, I would watch the video again for the wrapping technique cuz it’s much easier to see than for me to write it out!
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the sesame balls to the water, then bring it back to a simmer (not a vigorous boil) and let them cook for 5 minutes. The balls should be floating by the time they’re done.
If you have a few batches to cook and you’re not serving right away, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them sit in a bowl of room temp water while you do the other batch.This will prevent them from sticking together. If serving immediately…you could place them directly into serving bowls, but I still like to let them sit in the water briefly to cool them down a bit. They’re incredibly hot and could burn you if you eat them too soon after boiling!
When ready to serve, place 2-3 sesame balls into serving bowls. Ladle some hot ginger tea on top and enjoy! (If you’re not sure how to eat them, watch the end of the video!)
Black sesame: You can buy sesame seeds already roasted from Korean or Japanese grocery stores. If you’re gonna do that check the date on the package and make sure it’s not old. However, I like to start with raw sesame seeds and roast them myself for fresher flavour. And make sure you have a bit extra seeds on hand in case the filling is too runny you will have more to add to it.
White sesame: The white sesame seeds are used for helping you determine when the black sesame seeds are sufficiently toasted. Obviously you won’t need them if you’re buying pre-roasted seeds.
Ginger: 150g ginger will make a SPICY ginger tea which is popular with Thai people. You don’t have to add that much. Chinese people tend to make a less spicy version, so it’s really up to you. If you’re not sure, start with less and you can always add more. If you’ve made it too spicy by accident just add more water.