Friday, May 24, 2013

gluten-free sesame spheres

A few years back a friend requested that I try making a non-American recipe.  And I did...two years ago and I've made it again and again since.  I had every intention of making it a vlog as well.  Well, I've given up on that but I'm finally going to post the recipe.  I got the recipe from a Vietnamese couple who blog about Vietnamese food.  This recipe that I've titled as "gluten-free sesame spheres" is actually called Bánh Cam, which literally translates to orange cake.  But it's not actually a cake.  It looks like a crispy sesame ball with sweet mung bean filling.  The bonus is that it's gluten free without intending to be because this recipe uses rice flour!

I wouldn't fret about me not making a video blog on this because the source of the original recipe created a video demonstrating the technique to making these sesame spheres.  But before I go on posting their video and including their recipe, let me describe this dessert.  This Asian treat is a combination of crispy, chewy, creamy, sweet and savory all-in-one!  The mung bean filling inside the sphere can be sweet or savory with the additions of sugar and salt.  It's also creamy because the mung beans were smashed together to make a paste.  Enveloped around the filling is a rice flour mixture.  This is what lends to the chewy texture of the dessert.  And the rice flour is then rolled in sesame seeds which gives it a nutty flavor.  This dessert is then fried like a doughnut and thats what gives it the crispy outer shell.  I would recommend this recipe because it's such a contrast to typical American treats.  And it's versatile.  You can add whatever you like for a filling.  The rice flour doesn't have any particular flavor so it would go well with anything!  

a closer look

I'm also including some photographs of the rice flour packaging so you know what you're looking for at your local (Asian) grocery store!  You'll find them right after listed recipe ingredients.

Gluten-Free Sesame Spheres (aka Vietnamese Bánh Cam)
Recipe adapted from The Ravenous Couple
Ingredients for 2 dozen spheres
Mung bean filling
4 oz split peeled mung beans
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water

Rice Flour Dough
1 1/4 cup water plus extra 1/4 cup
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz bag glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup mashed potato or instant mashed potato flakes

1) Soak mung beans overnight or at least 1 hr in warm water. 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.

2) Dissolve the sugar in 1 1/4 cup of warm water. In large mixing bowl, add sugar mixture and the potato flakes and stir to dissolve. Then add the baking powder and stir to dissolve. Finally add the two types of rice flour and mix together to form a big ball of dough. There is no need to knead the dough. 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 to 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.

3)Roll in a bowl of sesame seeds to cover completely. Roll in the palm of your hands to make sure the sesame seeds stick.

4) Cover loosely at room temperature and allow to rest for at least 1 hour. Fry at 325 degrees, rotating the banh cam frequently for even frying. It's okay to fry many at a time as you want them to be submerged in oil for even frying. When golden brown, remove and drain and enjoy.

Cooks Note: You can delay the frying i.e. make this in advance beyond than 1 hour time to rest, but we wouldn't wait any more then 1 day before frying. To reheat, toast in toaster oven until crispy.

Want to know how to roll them?  Check out their video here!

1 comment:

  1. Would love if you checked out mine! Yours is great!


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