July 26, 2011

Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls with Red Bean Filling - East Malaysian Style

These sesame glutinous rice balls are popular nowadays. You can find them in coffee shops (served at three at a time on a small sacuer) and they are also found in most stalls in pasar malam.

When we were younger we loved to bite wastefully at the sesame seeds and then ate the filling - discarding the "glutinous skin". It was a wasteful way of eating and we got scolded.

The best part for me is to see the balls fluff up in the oil and the balls getting cooked...one gets a quick fix in the procedure of successful cooking.

Now that Ramadan is almost here....these balls would be again made in large quantities in the open air market...

Sesame is a good food medicinally. And red beans are nutritious also. But I cannot say too many good things about glutinous rice as it icontains very high level of glucose. It is not good for diabetics.

Furthermore one should also remember not to eat too many fried foods. I am mentioning this because many  in Sarawak and Brunei are familiar with the ubiquitous deep fried foods. Both the Chinese and Malays are fond of fried snacks especially.... 
These  deep fried glutinous balls are called "maqiu " in other parts of the world outsdie Sarawak. The best quality maqiu should have a soft skin or outer layer. It should be firm in texture and golden yellow in color. Different from the Mainland maqiu these local sesame balls have tou sa or red bean paste fillings. they cost Brunei$2.00 for three.
(Here's the recipe :Roll glutinous flour into a soft dough and rub it with white sugar evenly. Roll the dough into balls (about 20 to a kilogram of flour). Prepare the red bean paste (available in many cake shops) and press one dessert spoonful of the paste into the centre of the dough. Roll into balls.Dress the the balls with sesame seeds and put them into hot oil. When the raw balls start to float up, press them with iron wire strainer and the skin of the balls will swell because the water inside the dough has been turned into stream as a result of the heat. Press the balls for three or four times and they will be enlarged by 1.5 to 2 times. By then, fish the balls out and they are ready to eat.
The finished maqius are golden and chubby with the sesame seeds holding fast to the balls. The outer layer of the balls tastes crispy and the inner layer soft, solid but not stiff.)

Also called jian dui in many parts of China The hollow of the pastry is filled with a filling usually consisting of lotus paste (蓮蓉), or alternatively sweet black bean paste (hei dousha, 黑豆沙), or less commonly red bean paste (hong dousha, 紅豆沙). The last as you know is more common in Malaysia.
Depending on the region and cultural area, jian dui are known as matuan (麻糰) in northern China, ma yuan (麻圆) in northeast China, and jen dai (珍袋) in Hainan. In American Chinese restaurants and pastry shops, they are known as Sesame Seed Balls. They are also sometimes referred to as zhimaqiu (芝麻球), which translates to sesame balls in English.(Wikipedia)

The origins of jian dui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a palace food in Chang'an, known as ludeui (碌堆). This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China, the jian dui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.

If you don't like tou sa..you can make little strips of dough and coat them with the sesame seeds...and thus you have pretzels or just long sticks coated with sesame!! These would be easier to make!!

But then each time I savour ma chiu...I would be thinking that I am having some Palace food from as long ago as the Tang Dynasty......



Ann said...

another Foochow snack? Not Tang Yearn ?

Ann said...

hee haw hee haw,

I think mdm Mamora casted a spell on us when she taught us to sing sweetly sings the donkey. I can still hear the hee haw in my head.

What you want the donkey for? To earn money by letting children have donkey rides?

Yes, you must have a farm, the Brunei people would love to have a day at the farm. Kids riding donkeys, the elite could listen to you reading books.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann

Strangely this sesame ball is not Foochow in origin if I am right. It is Cantonese I read some where. May be even Shanghainese.

But the red bean paste is a later adaptation.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I love your idea ...I would like to give many children donkey rides...and I do have(You are so right) hee haw hee haw ringing in my head....I am under the same spell too....Imagination is everything! Einstein said.

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