The Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake is adapted from the pan-fried version of sesame seeds ball (煎堆, jian dui) to make it less oily and healthier.
Chinese New Year is coming and I already can see the streets decorated with vibrant red color. There is nothing better to start a new year with sweet treats. Although every household has different customs, I believe that desserts are necessary for a complete New Year’s celebration to express the wish for a sweet following year. With this in mind, I was inspired to make this Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake to celebrate this Chinese New Year.
The Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake is actually adapted from a traditional New Year’s treat – sesame seeds ball (煎堆, jian dui). Sesame seed ball is a type of fried food made from glutinous rice flour, coated with sesame seeds on the outside, and filled with red bean filling. Here in Indonesia, this sesame seed ball is known as onde-onde. Instead of deep-frying, I pan-fried the rice cake to make it less oily and healthier.
The rice cake is absolutely a fun sweet treat. The outer layer is crispy, nutty, and savory from the roasted sesame seeds, while the inside is soft, sticky, and squishy from the glutinous rice flour. Even more, the sweet and moist red bean paste is the true essence of the whole rice cake. To sum up, the taste and texture are actually similar to mochi but with theaddition of nutty sesame seeds. It tastes even much better when still hot as it is getting less chewy after it cools down.
All in all, I wish you good fortune on the Chinese New Year. May the coming days are filled with immense joy and prosperity.
Tips on Making Red Bean and Sesame Rice Cake
1. Add a little bit of water at a time when making the dough
The dough is made by mixing glutinous rice flour, salt, sugar, and warm water. This step is a little bit tricky because rice flour behaves like cornflour. A little too much water will make the dough too runny, while too much flour will make the dough cracks. Add warm water a little at a time to the glutinous rice flour and knead until the dough comes together. The dough should be shiny and has a texture like play-doh. After that, divide the dough into 6 parts and roll them into a ball. Sprinkle some glutinous rice flour over them as you go so they do not stick together.
2. Filling options
Check out my recipe on how to make homemade red bean paste. Other than red bean filling, you can also alternatively use traditional sweetened paste from lotus nuts, sesame seeds, mung bean, or even black bean. For modern touch, you can also swap the filling with chocolate paste or even peanut chunks. Regardless of your choice for the filling, feel free to experiment with it. Just notes that the filling needs to be thick in paste form so that it does not gush out when sealing the dough.
3. Flatten the rice cake
Since we are going to pan-fry the rice cake, the flattened shape will make it cooked up nicely and evenly on a non-stick pan. The sesame seeds will also prevent the rice cake from sticking with the pan.
4. Cover the pan when cooking
Pan-frying does not need as much oil but requires a lower heat so that the outside of the rice cake does not overcook while waiting for the inside to cook. Covering the pan with the lid is great to reduce cooking time. The idea is by covering the pan, you capture steam and give the rice cake time to cook all the way through. It also helps from keeping the sesame seeds exterior from over-browning
More Red Bean Recipes
If you don’t know, I have tons of red bean recipes on my blog!
- Red Bean Ice Cream
- Red Bean Soup with Glutinous Rice Balls
- Iced Matcha Milk Tea with Red Bean
- Dango with Red Bean Paste
- Red Bean Mochi with Kinako