Cooking Vietnamese food terrifies me. First of all, you know it's never going to taste as good as your mom's/grandma's. Second of all, the best recipes are "by taste" and neither my mom or Tuan's mom bother measuring with anything other than a pho spoon or rice bowl. Daunting right?
On New Years, my friend Casey came over armed with this recipe for sesame balls from the Ravenous Couple and all the ingredients needed to make these delicious balls of goodness. With the help of youtube, we managed to make our first batch and it turned out relatively well. Go grab your apron, I'm about to take you through the process.
Vietnamese Sesame Balls (Banh Cam)
recipe adapted from the Ravenous Couple
8 oz split peeled mung beans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup sugar
16 oz bag glutinous rice flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tbs baking powder
2/3 cup mash potato flakes
1. Soak mung beans for 1 hour in warm water.
2. Steam until softened and easily smashed between finger tips (roughly 30 mins).
3. Dissolve sugar in warm water.
4. Transfer cooled mung beans to mixing bowl and mash coarsely.
5. Add water sugar mix and coconut to mung beans and mix well. The texture should be like mashed potatoes.
6. Allow to cool and form into quarter size balls of mung bean. I put the mix into the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
1. Dissolve sugar in warm water.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar water mix with potato flakes and stir to dissolve.
3. Add baking powder and stir to dissolve.
4. Add the two types of rice flour and mix together with hands to form a ball of dough. The dough should be wet play-dough consistency.
5. If the dough is too dry, add an extra 1/4 cup of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
6. Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough and form it into a ball. Flatten to a disk with the palm of your hands and thin out the edges to form a pancake. If the dough cracks at the edges it's too dry and you need to add more water.
7. Place filling in the center and fold dough edges together and seal seams by rough in the palm of your hands.
8. Rolls in a bowl of sesame seeds to cover immediately. Waiting to do this process will result in the dough drying out, making it difficult for the seeds to stick to the ball.
9. Cover loosely at room temperature and allow to rest for 1 hour.
10. After balls have rested, fry at 325 until balls are golden brown.
11. Remove from oil, drain and enjoy!
[Golden sesame balls!]
[Rolling the mung bean filling. Make sure it is completely cooled or you won't be able to form the balls. The size of your final sesame ball will depend on the size of your filling. I like mine on the smaller side so we made the filling balls smaller.]
[Mixing the dough by hand]
[Pinch off a piece to check the consistency of your dough]
[Parker watching me wrap the dough around the filling]
[It was easiest to have someone standing by the roll the balls into sesame while I formed the balls. You don't want to stuck your dough-y hands in the sesame seeds.]
[We used vegetable oil and made sure the temp was at 325 before throwing the sessame balls in to fry.]