When planning an outing, is there a certain food that you associate with the destination of your errand …. a specific shop, specific area, on the way you visiting a friend, your doctor’s appointment, and so on? I have one for everywhere I go. For instance, when going to Costco, I must have their churro; San Francisco Japantown, a couple of oden set (of course, there are more); San Francisco Chinatown, their distinct pastries; our local Chinese market, sesame balls (ごま だんご/goma dango in Japanese), two in a package, right at the cash register! These days, I’ve learned to make them all myself, but, still like to keep the excitement of food association with my destinations.
You may have seen these sesame balls on Chinese restaurants’ dessert menus or in specialized dim sum restaurants as one of the items on the rotating carts. Crunchy toasted sesame, soft mochi texture, and sweet (yum) red-bean paste filling inside. Just pleasing all around!
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 100 g/ 1/3 cup anko/sweet red-bean paste 
• 3 ~ 4 Tbsp white sesame seeds
• 85 g/ 2/3 cup mochiko/sweet rice flour (called sweet, there is no sugar in it)
• 4 tsp granulated sugar
• 3 Tbsp water
• vegetable oil
 Anko may be substituted with sweet chestnut paste, sweet potato paste, etc. and nuts my be finely chopped and incorporated (half paste and half nuts).
◊ Divide anko paste into 6 equal amounts. Dampen your hands and make 6 equal sized balls. Set aside.
◊ Have two small plates ready, one with some water in it and the other with sesame seeds. Have a medium sized plate ready, lined with folded paper towel (larger plate with 2 sheets if making more than 6 dumplings).
◊ In a medium bowl, add mochiko. Make a little well in the center and place the sugar in it. Add half of the water over sugar and with a silicone spatula, mix and dissolve sugar. Start incorporating mochiko a little at a time. Add little bit of water at a time and keep mixing until mochiko is moistened into a dough.
◊ Put a small amount of oil on your hands and pick up the dough. Roll it into a big ball, and then into a cylinder about 15cm/6″ long. Cut the cylinder into 6 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
◊ In your palm, flatten each mochi ball round with even thickness, large enough to put an anko ball in its center and wrap mochi around it. Very gently and patiently close the gaps and make an evenly shaped ball (see photos).
◊ One at a time, dampen the balls on the plate with water, and then coat them with sesame seeds. Gently press the balls and sesame together.
◊ In a medium sized saucepan, add vegetable oil 4cm/1½” deep. On medium-low, heat oil to 150°C/300°F (not very hot). Low heat will cook the mochi without burning the sesame seeds. Add the balls to oil, rotate them for even frying for 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high and fry until the sesames turn golden (< 1 minute). Scoop out the balls and place them on the plate lined with paper towel. Let the balls cool down as the center remains very hot to bite into.
◊ Crunchy nutty outside and soft and sweet inside! Enjoy!
~ 食福 / chiah hok – Eat well, enjoy good food! ~
Mochiko and anko are commonly found in your local Japanese/Asian markets.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?
 If these products are not available at your local stores, here are options. Check for the best available prices at amazon.com (if delivery service available to your locality).