Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sesame Balls - Banh Cam

Growing up, I would always walk out of the Vietnamese bakery with a hot Banh Cam in hand. It's really no different today. Although, today I'll walk out with half a dozen to share with my kiddos. The delicious sesame covered shell is crispy on the outside, yet chewy on the inside. The lightly sweetened mung bean and coconut filling hidden inside, make it the perfect dessert.

I once bought a Vietnamese cook book solely to learn how to make these, but never got around to it until now. I figured now would be a great time to try this recipe with my week long cooking challenge.

Mung Bean and Coconut Filling
  • 8 oz split peeled mung beans
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


  • 2 1/2 cup water plus extra 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup mashed potato or mash potato flakes
  • 16 oz bag glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup rice flour

Soak mung beans over night or for at least 1 hour.

Steam until soften and easily smashed with your finger tips, roughly 20 minutes (or longer if not soaked overnight).

In meantime, dissolve sugar in warm water. When mung bean has cooled, transfer to mixing bowl and coarsely mash.

Add the sugar water mixture and coconut and mix well. The texture should be like mashed potatoes. Allow to cool and form small quarter size balls of mung bean. Refrigerate covered.

Dissolve the sugar in 2 1/2 cup of warm water. In large mixing bowl, add sugar mixture and stir in mashed potato or potato flakes. Then stir in the baking powder. Finally add the two types of rice flour and mix together to form a big ball of dough. I found the two types of flour at the asian grocery store. The two types were clearly marked as regular or glutinous.

The dough should be a wet play-dough consistency. Add a few tablespoons at a time of the extra 1/4 cup of water to the dough and mix well if it's too dry or gets too dry when working.

Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough and form into a ball.

Flatten to a disk with palm of your hands and thin out the edges to form a pancake. If the dough cracks at the edges, it's too dry. Add a few tablespoons at a time of the 1/4 cup of water to the dough and mix well. Place the filling in the center and fold dough edges together and seal seams by rolling in the palm your hands.

Roll in a bowl of sesame seeds to cover completely. Then, roll in the palm of your hands to make sure the sesame seeds stick.

Cover loosely at room temperature and allow to rest for at least 1 hour.

Fry on medium high to high heat, rotating the banh cam frequently for even frying. It is better to fill the pot full of banh cam while frying so the oil can boil over the entire surface, allowing to cook more evenly. When golden brown, remove, drain and enjoy.

It is best to serve it immediately while it is still crispy.

I'm tempted to make it again already.

Triple Yum-o

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