Sesame Beef Balls

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 40m

Serves 6

Sesame seeds, known as hu ma ("foreign hemp") originated in the Mediterranean and in ancient Persia (Iran) and were introduced into China probably pre-Tang dynasty (AD 618). Reports of Iranian street vendors in China selling steamed sesame seed bread date from Tang times.
The highly prized seeds, available in both black and white varieties, with black seeds being more often used as a garnish, are also valuable for the aromatic oil produced from them.
These meatballs would be regarded more as a snack food than a main meat dish, principally because of the decorative appeal of the sesame seeds.


  • 1 pound finely ground beef sirloin (topside), rump or steak
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced (finely chopped) fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (available at Chinese stores) or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine the ground beef with the garlic, ginger, pepper, rice wine, soy sauce, egg and cornstarch. Pound the mixture into the sides of the bowl several times. This techniques helps to expel air, resulting in a sticky homogenous mixture. Divide the beef mixture to make about 18 meatballs.

In a wok, heat the oil to about 350 degrees F. Add 6 meatballs at a time and deep-fry until golden brown. Remove and drain.

Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Drain off the oil from the wok, wipe out with a paper towel and pour the sauce mixture into the wok. Stir over low heat for a few seconds, then add the meatballs and sesame seeds to the sauce. Stir well to coat the meatballs and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the meatballs to a serving plate and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 2597

nutrition information per serving

466 calories; 41g total fat; 67mg cholesterol; 260mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 16g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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