Are Sesame Balls Vegan? A Popular Asian Cuisine

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Certainly! Sesame balls, also known as “jian dui,” are a delightful treat commonly found in Asian cuisine. They’re crafted from glutinous rice flour and water, making the dough naturally vegan. Rolled in sesame seeds and typically filled with sweet red bean paste, these crispy, chewy snacks are a vegan-friendly delight when they avoid any animal-based fillings or additives.

Why It Works?

  • Glutinous rice flour and water form the base, both of which are plant-based.
  • Sweet red bean paste, a common filling, is typically vegan.
  • Sesame seeds add a delightful crunch and are naturally vegan.
  • These ingredients ensure that sesame balls can easily be enjoyed as a vegan treat.

Sesame Balls Vegan

Navigating the world of traditional snacks as a vegan can be a delightful challenge, especially when it comes to popular Asian desserts like sesame balls.

These golden, crispy treats are loved for their chewy texture and nutty flavor, but the question remains: are sesame balls vegan?Start by understanding the basic ingredients that go into making sesame balls—glutinous rice flour, water, and sesame seeds.

To ensure they fit your vegan lifestyle, examine any fillings or additional ingredients used in the recipe. Opting for sesame balls made with plant-based fillings, like sweet red bean or lotus paste, provides a satisfying, animal-free treat that aligns with vegan dietary choices.

Are Sesame Balls Vegan?

Sesame balls, a popular snack in Asian cuisine, are typically vegan, but it’s crucial to check the ingredients. The basic components—glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, and water—are all plant-based. However, these balls are often filled with sweet red bean paste, which is generally vegan.

Occasionally, other fillings like lotus seed or custard might be used, which could contain non-vegan ingredients. For strict dietary adherence, verify the filling and ensure that no animal-derived ingredients are used in preparation. This way, you can enjoy these delightful treats without compromising your vegan principles.

Sesame Balls Vegan

Can Vegans Eat/Drink Sesame Balls?

Vegans can indeed enjoy sesame balls, a delightful treat from Asian culinary traditions, provided they scrutinize the ingredients. The base of sesame balls—made from glutinous rice flour, water, and coated in sesame seeds—is inherently vegan.

However, attention must be paid to the fillings, which vary widely. Traditional fillings like sweet red bean paste are typically vegan-friendly, while others like lotus seed or custard may contain dairy or egg products.

When choosing sesame balls, vegans should seek assurance that all components, including any added flavors or fillings, align with vegan standards to ensure these tasty snacks are completely plant-based and ethical.

What Are Vegan Sesame Balls Made Up Of? 

Vegan sesame balls are a delightful concoction primarily made from glutinous rice flour and water, which forms a sticky dough. This dough is then typically rolled in a generous amount of sesame seeds before being deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior.

The filling, which distinguishes vegan versions, often consists of sweet red bean paste, known for its natural sweetness and smooth texture, or other plant-based fillings like lotus seed paste.

Some variations might include a dash of sugar for extra sweetness. Altogether, these ingredients combine to create a delicious, vegan-friendly treat that celebrates traditional Asian flavors.

Fact– Sesame balls, a festive Asian treat, are traditionally made with glutinous rice flour, creating a chewy texture, and are often enjoyed during Lunar New Year celebrations.

Ingredients & Substitutes 

  • Glutinous Rice Flour: The base for the dough, providing a sticky, chewy texture. No substitute needed as it’s inherently vegan.
  • Sesame Seeds: Adds crunch and flavor; naturally vegan and essential to the recipe, with no substitutes required.
  • Red Bean Paste: A common vegan filling made from boiled and sweetened adzuki beans. Substitute with lotus seed paste or date paste for variety.
  • Sugar: Enhances sweetness; ensure it’s processed without bone char to maintain vegan standards. Coconut sugar is a good alternative for a richer flavor.
  • Water: Used to form the dough; no substitute necessary as it’s purely vegan.
  • Vegetable Oil: For deep-frying, ensuring a crispy exterior. Any high-smoke point vegan oil like canola or sunflower oil works well.

Ingredients & Substitutes 


  • Red Bean Paste: A staple in traditional Chinese cuisine, red bean paste lends a subtly sweet taste to sesame balls. Its smooth texture and earthy undertones make it a beloved choice among those seeking a classic filling.
  • Lotus Seed Paste: Renowned for its velvety texture and rich flavor, lotus seed paste provides a slightly sweeter profile compared to red bean. Ideal for those who prefer a more indulgent experience, this filling adds a touch of luxury to the sesame ball.
  • Date Paste: Bursting with natural sweetness and nutrients, date paste offers a healthier alternative for sesame ball fillings. Its caramel-like taste and soft texture make it a delightful option for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth while staying mindful of their dietary choices.
  • Peanut Butter: Infusing sesame balls with creamy peanut butter introduces a nutty twist to this traditional treat. The combination of rich, savory peanut flavor with the dough’s subtle sweetness creates a harmonious blend that appeals to both classic and contemporary palates.
  • Coconut Filling: By incorporating shredded coconut into the filling, sesame balls take on a tropical flair. The coconut’s sweet, aromatic essence complements the dough, offering a refreshing departure from more traditional options.
  • Matcha Flavoring: Adding matcha powder to the dough not only imparts a vibrant green hue but also infuses the sesame balls with a distinct, earthy flavor. Matcha enthusiasts will appreciate the unique twist this ingredient brings to the classic snack.
  • Black Sesame Paste: For those craving a deeper, more complex flavor profile, black sesame paste delivers with its slightly bitter undertones. The contrast between the dark, intense filling and the light, airy dough creates a captivating sensory experience.

Tip– For an extra crispy exterior, ensure the oil is hot enough before frying the sesame balls. This prevents them from absorbing too much oil.


Benefits Of Vegan Sesame Ball

  • Plant-based Ingredients: Completely devoid of animal products, these offerings champion ethical eating habits while satisfying culinary desires with compassion and sustainability at the forefront.
  • Nutrient-Dense: Sesame seeds, abundant in healthy fats, protein, and calcium, contribute to a well-rounded diet, enhancing overall health and vitality with their wealth of essential nutrients.
  • Diet-Friendly: Catering to the dietary preferences of vegans and vegetarians, these options provide a guilt-free indulgence, aligning seamlessly with conscientious lifestyles and culinary choices.
  • Lower in Cholesterol: By eschewing animal-derived ingredients, these treats inherently reduce dietary cholesterol intake, promoting cardiovascular health and well-being with every delectable bite.
  • Versatile: Adaptable to a myriad of flavor profiles and dietary needs, these vegan fillings offer endless possibilities, allowing for personalization and customization to suit individual tastes and nutritional requirements.
  • Allergy-Friendly: With a focus on plant-based ingredients, these treats offer a safe haven for those with dairy and egg allergies, providing a delicious solution without compromising on taste or texture.
  • Cultural Experience: Providing a unique culinary journey, these offerings honor the rich traditions of Asian cuisine, offering a delightful fusion of heritage and innovation in a vegan-friendly format.

Is Vegan Vegan Sesame Ball Gluten-Free?

Vegan sesame balls are not typically gluten-free because they are made using glutinous rice flour, which, despite its name, does not contain gluten like wheat, barley, or rye.

However, glutinous rice flour is derived from rice, which is naturally gluten-free. The confusion often arises from the term “glutinous,” which refers to the sticky nature of the rice when cooked, not the presence of gluten.

To ensure that sesame balls are gluten-free, especially for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, it’s important to check that all other ingredients used in the recipe, such as fillings or additional flavorings, are also free from gluten.

Tip– For a smoother texture in the filling, blend the red bean paste until it’s extra creamy before stuffing it into the sesame balls.

Nutrition Table 

Storage & Make Ahead 

  • Cool Completely: To maintain optimal texture, allow sesame balls to cool entirely post-frying, preventing sogginess when stored, and ensuring a satisfying crunch with each bite.
  • Room Temperature: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 48 hours, preserving freshness and flavor for immediate enjoyment.
  • Refrigerate: Extend shelf life by refrigerating in an airtight container for up to 5 days, safeguarding against spoilage while retaining their delightful taste and texture.
  • Freeze: Preserve for future cravings by freezing sesame balls on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer-safe bag, maintaining quality for up to 90 days for long-term enjoyment.
  • Reheat: Restore their crispy exterior by reheating thawed or refrigerated sesame balls in an oven or air fryer at 350°F, ensuring a satisfying crunch and piping hot filling with each bite.
  • Make Ahead: Simplify meal prep by preparing dough and fillings in advance, refrigerating separately for up to 24 hours before assembling and frying, streamlining the cooking process for convenience without compromising on freshness or flavor.

Fact– Sesame balls date back to the Tang Dynasty in China, originally served as palace treats during the Lunar New Year to symbolize prosperity and good luck.

sesame balls vegan

Time-Saving Tips 

  1. Prep in Advance: Maximize efficiency by preparing dough and fillings a day prior, storing them in the refrigerator for convenience and easy access during the cooking process.
  2. Batch Processing: Enhance productivity by rolling out multiple balls simultaneously, optimizing workflow and minimizing downtime during assembly.
  3. Use a Small Ice Cream Scoop: Expedite portioning with precision by utilizing a small ice cream scoop, ensuring uniformity in size and consistency for each sesame ball.
  4. Fry in Batches: Maintain oil temperature and ensure even cooking by frying sesame balls in batches, striking a balance between efficiency and quality to achieve optimal results.
  5. Preheat Oil: Streamline the frying process by preheating the oil while preparing the balls, facilitating a seamless transition from assembly to frying for crispy and golden results.
  6. Simple Fillings: Simplify preparation without sacrificing flavor by opting for ready-to-use vegan fillings like pre-made red bean paste, minimizing prep time and maximizing efficiency in the kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use An Air Fryer Instead Of Deep-Frying The Sesame Balls?

Yes, you can use an air fryer to cook sesame balls. Set the air fryer to about 360°F and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through until golden and crispy.

sesame balls vegan

How Do I Ensure The Sesame Seeds Stick To The Balls Before Frying?

To ensure sesame seeds adhere well, lightly dampen the surface of the balls with water before rolling them in the sesame seeds. This creates a sticky surface that helps the seeds stick better.

Are There Any Savory Versions Of Vegan Sesame Balls?

Absolutely, you can make savory sesame balls by using fillings like mushroom mince or seasoned tofu instead of sweet pastes. Adjust seasonings to taste, focusing on savory profiles.

How Can I Make The Outer Shell Of The Sesame Balls Crunchier?

For a crunchier shell, ensure the oil is hot enough (around 350°F) before frying. Another tip is to double fry the balls — fry once, let them cool slightly, then fry again quickly to crisp up the exterior.

What Alternative Flours Can I Use If I’m Out Of Glutinous Rice Flour?

While glutinous rice flour is ideal for achieving the classic chewy texture, in a pinch, you can use a combination of regular rice flour and a bit of tapioca starch to mimic the texture, though results may vary slightly.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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