Target Health Blog

Sweet Potato Sesame Balls (adapted from an old Chinese recipe for Sesame Balls)

December 2, 2019

Target Healthy Eating

This delicious recipe is quick and easy and catches the eye with it's unique appearance. As a side dish with turkey (or any poultry) or seafood and fish, it will be a real hit. As an appetizer before dinner, it will get applause, at least our guests have and praise as well. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
We've got several platters of warm sweet potato sesame balls to be passed around to wine drinking guests. These were a hit on Thanksgiving. Plan to serve them again during the December holiday season. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC


2 medium to large sweet potatoes, baked

8 Tablespoons glutenous rice flour, plus 1 Tablespoon for coating

2 Tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

4 Tablespoons raw white sesame seeds, or more to coat the balls

Peanut oil or safflower cooking oil (sesame oil starts to smoke at high heat)

I experimented with many types of flour, namely almond flour, chickpea flour, rye flour, rice flour. Rice flour had the best outcome, so be sure to stay with that. I also experimented with different cooking oils. The best outcome was peanut oil and/or safflower oil. I still want to experiment with sugar. White sugar worked very well, next week I'll try brown sugar. Next week, I intend also to add chopped walnuts to the dough mixture. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC


1.     Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees

2.     Bake Potatoes - Pierce the sweet potato (without peeling) several times with a fork or a knife. Rub oil all over each potato and bake for 50 - 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh with a fork or spoon and add to mixing bowl.

Baked sweet potatoes cut in half. Next, the flesh will be scooped out with a spoon and put into a mixing bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

3.     Remove the flesh from potato skins and put into mixing bowl.

4.     Make the dough - Mash the sweet potato with a fork or masher, until smooth. Gradually add glutinous rice flour and sugar while mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon. Combine with hands to form a soft dough. The amount of glutinous rice flour may vary depending on the water content of the sweet potato. Adjust accordingly. The finished dough should be soft but not stick to your hands. If sticky, add a tiny bit more flour, mix it with the rest of the dough and assess it again. Repeat, until the dough is soft but not sticky.

Sweet potatoes have been mashed. Now, sugar and rice flour are added. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

5.    Form the balls - Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each piece into a ball with the palm of your hands.

6.    Coat the balls - Mix one Tablespoon of glutinous rice flour with 1/2 cup of water. Wet a dough ball thoroughly in the mixture. Then place it in a bowl filled with raw sesame seeds. Shake the bowl in a circular motion to allow the ball to roll around in the seeds. Take the ball out when it's fully covered with seeds. Press gently with the palm of your hands to firm up the coating. Repeat to coat the rest of the balls.

Rolling dough in mixture of rice flour and water. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

7.     Option for coating the balls - Dip your fingertips into sesame oil and rub it all around each dough ball. Then, one at a time, roll each ball in the sesame seeds until it's completely covered with sesame seeds.

Now, rolling moist dough ball in white sesame seeds. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

8.     Fry the balls - Heat the oil over high heat, then turn the heat to medium and gently add the sesame balls. If your pan is not large, cook the potato balls in batches. You only want one layers of balls in the pan at one time, with plenty of space between them, to roll them around without breaking them. Increase the amount of oil, as needed. Keep their round shape by rolling them in the pan for 5 to 6 minutes or until the sesame seeds turn a light or golden brown. When the seeds are done and the dough has turned orange, the balls can be removed from the pan to paper toweling, to drain.

Frying the sesame balls. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Fully cooked, sesame balls have been removed from skillet and are draining on paper toweling.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

9.     Enjoy these delicious sweet potato balls as appetizers or as a side dish with poultry or fish and sea food. This recipe is best when eaten hot off the stove (after draining for a few minutes). Later, they won't be as crisp but will still taste good.

We're finding these days, no matter what we're serving, guests ask for both red and white wine. We always have a ready supply of well chilled Pouilly-Fuisse (France) and one of our favorite cabs, Paul Hobbs (Napa Valley). Cheers! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

Bon Appetit!

From Our Table to Yours

Have a Great Week Everyone!

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