|Alternative names||matuan, sesame ball|
|Place of origin||Chang'an (now Xi'an), Tang dynasty China|
|Region or state||Chinese-speaking areas, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines|
|Main ingredients||glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, various fillings (lotus seed, black bean, red bean pastes)|
|Cookbook:Jian dui Jian dui|
|Literal meaning||fried pile|
|Literal meaning||sesame rice dough|
Jian dui is a type of fried Chinese pastry made from glutinous rice flour. The pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is crisp and chewy. Inside the pastry is a large hollow, caused by the expansion of the dough. The hollow of the pastry is filled with a filling usually consisting of lotus paste (蓮蓉), or alternatively sweet black bean paste (hei dousha, 黑豆沙), or less commonly red bean paste (hong dousha, 紅豆沙).
Depending on the region and cultural area, jian dui are known as matuan (麻糰) in northern China, ma yuan (麻圆) in northeast China, and zhen dai (珍袋) in Hainan. In American Chinese restaurants and pastry shops, they are known as Sesame Seed Balls. They are also sometimes referred to as zhimaqiu (芝麻球), which translates to sesame balls in English.
The origins of jian dui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a palace food in Chang'an, known as lüdui (碌堆). This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China, the jian dui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.
In Indonesian cuisine, it is called onde-onde, filled with sweetened mung bean paste. This pastry is also popular and widely available in Indo (Eurasian), Indonesian and Vietnamese outlets in the Netherlands. A similar dish is called Klepon, which are rice balls filled with palm sugar.
In Japan, it is known as goma dango (ごま団子, sesame dumpling). It is often sold at street fairs, in Chinese districts, and at various restaurants.
It is known as kuih bom, which is usually filled with shredded sweetened coconut, or nuts. Occasionally, it may be filled with red bean paste.
In the Philippines, jian dui is called butsi (Castilian: buchi). Due to hundreds of years of Chinese settlement in the Philippines, the integration of Chinese cuisine (particularly Cantonese and Fujian) to local dishes has made buchi quite popular. To an extent, it has already been considered an icon of Chinese Filipino culinary tradition, sometimes associated with auspiciousness. As it is well-known among ethnic Chinese and other Filipinos alike, local restaurants which are sometimes not even Chinese and fastfood chains such as Chowking have added the delicacy to the menu. Aside from the usual lotus and red bean paste, non-Chinese and indigenous ingredients have also been used for variety such as ube-flavored butsi.
In Vietnam, two very similar dishes are called bánh cam (from southern Vietnam) and bánh rán (from northern Vietnam), both of which have a somewhat drier filling that is made from sweetened mung bean paste. Bánh rán is scented with jasmine flower essence (called mali in Thai).photo
Bánh rán can be sweet or savory. The sweet one is filled with mung bean. The savory one is filled with chopped meat, cassava vermicelli, mushroom, and a variety of other typically Vietnamese ingredients. It's usually served with vegetable and dipping sauce.
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