Friday, December 27, 2013

Glutinous Rice Balls - Jian Dui and Loh Mai Chee

I've learnt that playing with glutinous rice flour is a tricky thing. You need to get the dough just right, not too wet and not too dry.

A few years ago, we made tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) for Winter Solstice Festival because we were rather unfortunate to have bought yucky frozen ones from the supermarket. 

Life would have been easier if it had been yummy. ;)
Those manufactured and sold in supermarkets, I mean.

Back in 2010.

Sometimes, I get annoyed with the husband who, when feels like it, will challenge go against the norm of things ... er... whatever you may call it. He said that 'tang yuan' need not be round and proceeded to make a variety of shapes including that ring you see in the picture above.

This year, I'm glad he was too busy to help me whip up a quick batch.

Just peanut fillings this time.

I didn't realise it was the Winter Solstice Festival until friends and family started wishing everyone on Facebook. Soooooo ...

I rummaged through the kitchen racks and found that I had just enough flour to make 20 balls filled with crushed peanuts. Phew!

I love my crushed peanuts. I had some left from my earlier attempts at making 'jian dui' (fried glutinous balls) and 'loh mai chee' (glutinous balls coated with rice flour) on different occasions.

At first, I had the intention of sharing with you my jian dui and loh mai chee journeys but changed my mind and deleted the draft. Then I realised that I had to, just to remind myself NEVER AGAIN to play with glutinous rice flour.

It's too freaking sticky!

Fried Glutinous Rice Balls - 'Jian Dui'
Recipe from Roti n Rice, excluding sweet potato paste.
Alternatively, The Choosy Gourmand shows you step by step with pictures!

Whenever we visit restaurants for dim sum (or yum cha, as the people here refer to it), my family and I would always order a serving (or two) of what my sisters and I referred to as 'fried sesame balls'. But those balls are usually filled with lotus paste or red bean paste and are smaller in size, say 1.5 inch in circumference.

Years ago back in Kota Kinabalu, sometimes our parents would buy the bigger version of the fried sesame balls (3 inches in circumference) filled with peanut paste. I love them, and I still do!

Being overseas away from home where such snacks are easily available, I can't bring myself to spend AUD$2.20 on a piece of yau char kuay (fried dough stick). And that is why I end up troubling myself with these cooking experiments, just to avoid paying that crazy price!

I am keen on making my own yau char kuay as well, but ... food which require deep frying is too much work for me.

Anyway, I first prepared the red bean paste the night before - soaking the beans for a few hours, boiling them and adding rock sugar or sugar into the pot while it cooks until softened, drain the water, then pound the beans until they turn into a paste. Set aside in fridge for tomorrow.

I was too lazy to use the blender.

Roll them into balls and set aside.


Wrap the red bean paste with dough and roll it into a saucer of sesame seeds and set aside for deep frying.

Almost doubled in size.

Don't make them too big as they will expand in hot oil.

If you can fry them longer, please do so, otherwise the inner wall of the ball will be slightly raw.

Not too shabby for a first attempt, but I think I would have preferred peanut paste inside. :)

Glutinous Rice Balls - Loh Mai Chee version
Recipe from Christine's Recipe.
Alternatively, Yummy In Your Tummy or frozen wings or Kuali.

My sisters and I also love these from our childhood. These balls are about 2.5 - 3 inches in circumference, and packed with crushed peanut paste. Yum!

Mine aren't perfectly round. Hmmfh!

I introduced them to the hubby some time back and he enjoyed them, too.

I thought the jian dui was tough, but omg, these loh mai chee tested my patience to its limit and I almost threw everything away in annoyance.

It was freaking hard work!

OK, I admit. Perhaps I don't have the skill to deal with the damn sticky flour.

First, you had to steam the dough on a shallow tray, if you have one. Wait for it to cool.

I divided the above piece into 4 sections, and use 1 to fill with peanuts. Then coat with

As you can see, mine are rather lumpy and not very smooth as a ball. Be that as it may, it was still awesomely delicious (it must be the peanuts)!!

When kept overnight, it will be a bit moist inside. Still awesomely delicious!

Anyway, I gave up after a while (haha, I'm always giving up) as I clearly wasn't very good at rolling balls, so I made muar chee instead. 

Steamed the dough, cut into pieces, rolled in glutinous rice flour, and dunked into the chopped peanuts.

Another childhood favourite from Penang!

I know this post isn't very helpful, but the recipes links I've shared are the ones I referred to, and adapted to my preference. Everything is a matter of preference, and who knows, maybe you'd prefer someone else's recipe and not the ones I've recommended. :)

These glutinous rice balls were all first attempts and although they were not perfectly round or cooked, but they were great in taste. That, I can say for sure!

And although I swore off messing with glutinous rice flour, I ended up making onde onde (traditional kuih) for Christmas. The sticky mess reminded me once more why I swore it off.


  1. Wei Aunty, you should open a shop selling these over there la. Sure rich one la. Imagine the amount of running gear you can bu after that ... LOL!

    1. wei uncle! maybe in a few years eh, who knows? LOL!
      but i'd be very afraid to be judged by the makciks over here. they may say, "fail! tak boleh!" haha!