Xiao Kou Zao (Deep-Fried Sesame Balls)

Xiao Kou Zao (Deep-Fried Sesame Balls)

At least two different styles of sesame balls are popular to serve at the Chinese New Year celebrations. This particular version symbolizes “happiness” because the Chinese say the cracks in the surface of the cooked dough look like smiles. The other similar version, for which the balls are completely covered with sesame seeds, resembles a pile of gold coins after they are fried and stacked up on a serving plate—hence, these symbolize “wealth.” The latter version also is a popular conclusion to a dim sum meal.

  • 20Servings


  • 5 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 10 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying


In large mixing bowl, stir together water, sugar, baking soda and baking powder until sugar dissolved. Add flour and egg, and knead into dough.

Form 20 balls from dough. Place sesame seeds in flat pan, and set aside. Moisten balls with water, and roll each in sesame seeds to cover generously.

Heat oil in large wok or deep saucepan. When heated to 325F, gently place 2 to 3 balls at a time in hot oil. Deep-fry until golden brown, remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough, and serve.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories: 170
  • Carbohydrate Content: 18 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 5 mg
  • Fat Content: 8 g
  • Fiber Content: 2 g
  • Protein Content: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 1 g
  • Sodium Content: 45 mg
  • Sugar Content: 7 g