Many traditional and old-fashioned Taiwanese desserts feature sweet potatoes or yams as a main ingredient. In this recipe, we use yam to make the puffs. Deep-frying is a way of drawing out the fragrance of the sesame seeds as well as sealing in the sweet taste of the puffs. At Chinese banquets, such as those given for weddings, this dish is often served as dessert. The golden color of the puff symbolizes joy, good fortune and happiness.
- 1 lb yam
- 1 bag of red bean paste (about one pound)
- 1 ½ Tbsp. ground sugar
- 1 ¼ cups glutinous rice flour
- ¾ cup white sesame seeds
- Cooking oil for frying. Note: Depending on the size of the pot, as long as you have enough oil to cover half of the puff, you can turn the puff over to ensure that both sides are cooked to golden brown.
- Peel yam and cut into chunks. Steam for 30 minutes or until soft.
- Mash yam and add sugar. When the mixture cools, add rice flour, mix well and knead into a smooth dough. Divide dough into 20 small pieces and then roll these pieces into balls.
- Cut a slit in the corner of the red bean package, squeeze paste out and shape it into a ball. (Note that the ball of red bean paste is for filling and does not have to be perfectly shaped.)
- Take a piece of dough, press into a flat round shape and place a red bean ball in the center. Seal the dough and roll it into a ball, then roll the ball into a cylinder puff shape.
- Place sesame seed in a shallow plate and roll the puff in the sesame dish. Gently press the sesame seeds into the puff to ensure that they stay on the puff evenly.
- Pour frying oil into a deep pot or wok and heat over medium heat. Place the puff into hot oil and deep fry until both sides turn golden brown.
- Serve piping hot or at room temperature. This recipe yields 20 puffs.
Yam has orange flesh and reddish-brown or orange skin. It contains more water than sweet potato. For this recipe, using yam instead of sweet potato will enhance the color of the puff, as well as add flavor and texture.