Yuan Xiao (元宵)

Ashley is home for Chinese New Year. Of all the CNY food that she likes, I know sesame-filled glutinous rice ball ranks at the top of her list.

I have tried to make these dumplings many times but never had real success. The last failed attempt resulted in Inside-out Glutinuous Rice Balls 😂.

I decided it’s time to give it another shot, or I have to drive 30 minutes to find frozen dumplings at the Asian supermarkets. This time around, I froze the filling and rolled it into balls before wrapping. That does the trick! Perfectly chewy dumplings with filling that oozes out with each bite.


Sesame Filling

  • 80g Black Sesame Powder
  • 80g superfine sugar
  • 30g pecan, finely grounded
  • 60g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 30g water


  • 250g glutinous rice flour, more for dusting and kneading
  • 140g boiling water
  • 70g room temperature water

Osmanthus Syrup

  • 4 cups water
  • One piece of rock sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried Osmanthus flower


  1. Stir sesame filling ingredients together until well blended. The mixture should be runny.
  2. Pour filling into a quart-size plastic bag and seal, pressing out any air in the bag.
  3. Push filling to fill half a bag, fold and lay flat in freezer.
  4. When frozen, cut into 32 pieces, approximately 8g each.
  5. Roll each piece into ball, place on cling wrap and keep in freezer until ready to use.
  6. Pour boiling water into glutinous rice flour in a medium size bowl, stirring briskly as you pour.
  7. Wearing food prep gloves, knead for a few minutes until a sticky dough forms.
  8. Add the warm water and continue to knead until a smooth dough forms. Sprinkle more glutinous rice flour if dough is too sticky. End result should be a smooth elastic dough that does not stick to your hands.
  9. Divide into 32 portions, approximately 14g each. Roll into dough balls. Cover the formed dough balls with cling wrap while you work on the remaining dough to prevent drying out.
  10. When ready to assemble, remove the frozen sesame balls a few at a time from the freezer.
  11. Make a dent in a dough ball with your thumb and place a sesame ball in it.
  12. Push the dough up over the filling and seal. Roll in to a smooth dumpling. Set aside, covered.
  13. Repeat step 11 until all the fillings are wrapped.
  14. Freeze assembled dumplings if not ready to cook right away.
  15. When ready to serve, prepare Osamanthus syrup by dissolving the rock sugar in 4 cups of water. Bring the water to boil and add the tablespoon of dried Osmanthus flower. Cover and steep while you boil the dumplings.
  16. Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat and remove desired number of dumplings from freezer. Drop the dumplings into boiling water, giving each a nudge once they hit the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking.
  17. When dumplings float to the surface, continue to keep a rolling boil for another two minutes.
  18. Remove with slotted spoon and serve with osmanthus syrup.
Frozen filling in zip lock bag
Divide into 32 pieces and roll into balls. Freeze till ready to use.
Rolled dough balls. Cover while you wrap to prevent drying out.
Wrapped dumplings. Freeze if not ready to cook.
3 ingredients Osmanthus Syrup
Cover and steep.
Bring water to boil before adding dumplings
Add dumplings. They will sink to the bottom. Give each a nudge to prevent sticking.
When dumplings float to the surface, continue boiling for two more minutes.
Transfer dumplings into osmanthus syrup. Enjoy!

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