Chinese Sesame Donuts (笑口棗)

Chinese New Year is around the corner again. Apart from the festive rice cake, these crunchy deep fried sesame balls are one of my favorite treats during the Chinese New Year. In Cantonese, it means "Laughing Dates" because these sesame balls cracked open like a laughing mouth. They carry the meaning of bringing lots of laughters and happiness to your family. 笑口常開. It is very easy to make, crunchy, and aromatic.

- Use cake/ pastry flour instead of all purpose; helps forming the cracks and the texture of the donuts
- Deep fry in low temperature (I use low heat): helps forming the crunchy texture and the inside and outside can be cooked thoroughly without burning the outside.

Ingredients (recipes adopted from Yummy Workshop)
Yield: 2 dozens 

300 g Cake/Pastry Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
105 g White Sugar
5 tbsp Hot Water
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
Raw White Sesame Seeds for coating cookie balls
Vegetable Oil for deep frying


1) In a small bowl, mix together sugar and hot water until the sugar is melted, and let cool.

2) Add egg to sugar mixture. And mix till combined.

3) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.

4) Add wet ingredients (sugar+ egg mixture and oil) to the flour mixture. Mix with wooden spoon and hands to form dough. (Add spoon of water if the dough is too dry and not stick together)

5) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

6) Roll dough into long tubes and cut into small pieces to form 1-1.5 cm wide balls.

7) Spay a little water onto the dough balls and roll them in the sesame seeds. The water helps the sesame seeds sticking on the balls. Roll them lightly on your hands to make sure the sesame seeds are sticking.

8) Deep fry in heated oil; roll the balls in the oil as they cook, until they turn slightly golden brown (stove on high heat, then turn low after added the balls). Remove from oil and place on paper towel to remove excess oil. Cool before storing them in dry air tight containers.


  1. "because these sesame balls cracked open like a laughing mouth." - love ur description!