Jian dui
Alternative namesMatuan, sesame ball, sesame seed ball, buchi, onde-onde
CourseTea, snack
Place of originChang'an (now Xi'an), Tang dynasty (China)
Region or stateEast Asia
Main ingredientsGlutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, various fillings (lotus seed, black bean, red bean, mung bean pastes)
Jian dui
Hanyu Pinyinjiānduī
Literal meaningfried dumpling/pile
Sesame ball
Hanyu Pinyinzhīmáqiú
Literal meaningsesame ball
Traditional Chinese麻糰
Simplified Chinese麻团
Hanyu Pinyinmátuán
Literal meaningsesame dumpling

Jiandui or sesame balls[1] are a type of fried Chinese pastry made from glutinous rice flour. The pastry is coated with sesame seeds on the outside and is crisp and chewy after immediately being cooked. Inside the pastry is a large hollow, caused by the expansion of the dough. The hollow of the pastry is filled with a filling usually consisting of lotus paste, or alternatively, sweet black bean paste, or red bean paste.

Depending on the region and cultural area, jiandui are known as matuan (麻糰) in North and Northwest China, mayuan (麻圆) in Northeast China, and zhendai (珍袋) in Hainan.[citation needed]


The origins of jian dui can be traced back to the Tang dynasty as a royal food in Chang'an, known as lüdui (碌䭔). This food item was also recalled in a poem by the Tang poet Wang Fanzhi. With the southward migration of many peoples from central China since the An–Shi Rebellion, the jian dui was brought along and hence became part of southern Chinese cuisine.

Across Asia

East Asia

In Hong Kong, it is one of the most standard pastries. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops overseas.[2]

In Japan, it is known as goma dango (ごま団子, sesame dumpling). It is often sold at street fairs, in Chinese districts, and at various restaurants.

In Korea, it is called jungguksik chamkkaegyeongdan (중국식 참깨경단, "Chinese-style sesame rice ball cake") to avoid confusion with Korean-style sesame rice ball cake (chamkkae-gyeongdan) with sesame coating. As the Chinese jian dui is first coated with sesame seeds then deep-fried, while the Korean gyeongdan is first boiled then coated with toasted sesame seeds, jian dui is also called twigin chamkkaegyeongdan(튀긴 참깨경단, "deep-fried sesame rice ball cake").

South Asia

In Tamil Nadu and northeast Sri Lanka, it is known as ellu urundai or ellurundai (எள்ளுருண்டை), the local word meaning sesame ball. In Sinhalese, mainly used in Sri Lanka, it is called Thuri Guli (තල ගුලි), which translates as sesame ball. It is made in different sizes and colors. It is usually filled with sesame seeds, jaggery, sugar, or glucose syrup.[3] In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, a similar sweet made with jaggery and sesame seeds is known as chimmili(చిమ్మిలి) or nuvvula undalu(నువ్వుల ఉండలు; lit. ‘sesame spheres’).[4]

Southeast Asia


The pastry is called num kroch or nom kroch (Khmer: នំក្រូច, lit.'orange cake' due to its shape resembling the fruit) in Khmer and was introduced in Cambodia by Chinese migrants.[5]

Indonesia and Malaysia

In Indonesian cuisine, it is called onde-onde or kue moci, filled with sweetened mung bean paste. People usually eat it as a snack. This pastry is also popular and widely available in Indo (Eurasian), Indonesian, and Vietnamese outlets in the Netherlands.

In Malaysia, it is known as kuih bom, which is usually filled with shredded sweetened coconut, or nuts. Occasionally, it may be filled with red bean paste. Among the mainly Hakka-speaking ethnic Chinese in the state of Sabah, jian dui is more commonly known as you chi.[6]


Ube-flavored Filipino butsi

In the Philippines, jian dui is called butsi (Spanish: buchi). Due to hundreds of years of Chinese settlement in the Philippines, the integration of Chinese cuisine (particularly Cantonese and Fujian) to local dishes has made buchi quite popular. To an extent, it has already been considered an icon of Chinese Filipino culinary tradition, sometimes associated with auspiciousness. As it is well known among ethnic Chinese and other Filipinos alike, local restaurants which are sometimes not even Chinese and fastfood chains such as Chowking[7][8] have added the delicacy to the menu. Aside from the usual lotus and red bean paste, non-Chinese and indigenous ingredients have also been used for variety, such as ube-flavored butsi.[9] Unlike jian dui, Filipino buchi and derivates (like mache, masi, moche, and palitaw) can also be boiled or steamed, in addition to being deep fried.


In Vietnamese cuisine, two very similar dishes are called bánh cam (from southern Vietnam) and bánh rán (from northern Vietnam), both of which have a somewhat drier filling that is made from sweetened mung bean paste.[10] Bánh rán is scented with jasmine flower essence (called mali in Thai).photo

Bánh rán can be sweet or savory. The sweet one is filled with mung bean. The savory one is filled with chopped meat, cassava vermicelli, mushroom, and a variety of other typically Vietnamese ingredients. It is usually served with vegetable and dipping sauce.

Outside Asia


In Mauritius, jian dui is called jien-yan-e (Chinese: 煎丸欸) by the local Chinese community of Mauritius,[11] but it is more commonly known as gato zinzli (also written as gato zingli or gato zinli) in creole.[12][13][14] It can literally be translated as "sesame cake". It is one of the Mauritian snacks which was influenced by the presence of Sino-Mauritians on the island.[15] The gato zinzli originated from China and was introduced in Mauritius by the Chinese migrants from Guangzhou and Guangdong in the 18th or 19th century.[12] It is deep fried until it is slightly chewy and crispy outside before being coated with sesame seeds; it is made of sweet potato, glutinous rice, and sometimes, with red bean paste.[12][13] They are typically eaten as snacks;[14] but they are especially eaten during Chinese New Year as a traditional snack by Sino-Mauritians.[16][17] The gato zinzli are also shared to family members and acquaintances on Chinese New Year by Sino-Mauritians as part of their customary tradition in order to accentuate the sharing and spirit of friendship.[16]

United States

In American Chinese restaurants and pastry shops, it is known as sesame seed ball.[18]


See also


  1. ^ Misty, Littlewood and Mark Littlewood, 2008 Gateways to Beijing: a travel guide to Beijing ISBN 981-4222-12-7, pp. 52.
  2. ^ "Sesame Balls". Ching He Huang. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  3. ^ "Ellurundai - Sweet Sesame Balls". 14 September 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  4. ^ Aruna (2020-11-14). "Chimmili | Nuvvula Undalu: 2-ingredient Andhra Sesame & Jaggery Laddus". ãhãram. Retrieved 2023-11-28.
  5. ^ Gérard, Sabrina (20 July 2018). "Num Kroch". 196 flavors. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  6. ^ 黃, 兆章; 萬, 侃 (2020-01-20). "新年油器食得精 煎堆切半唔爆表". 明報健康網 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". www.chowking.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Buchi | Lutong Pinas".
  9. ^ "Project Food Blog 2010: Butsi with Ube Halaya « Cheap Ethnic Eatz". Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
  10. ^ pwmf blogspot
  11. ^ "Sweet snacks". Hakka Mauritians 客家.
  12. ^ a b c Periampillai, Selina (2019). The Island Kitchen : Recipes from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. ISBN 978-1-5266-1248-9. OCLC 1099339433.
  13. ^ a b "Gato Zinzli : Sesame balls". Cuizine Maurice. 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  14. ^ a b "Gato Zinzli (Sesame Balls) Recipe". restaurants.mu. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  15. ^ "Chinese Cuisine". Cuizine Maurice. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  16. ^ a b Duval, Caroline; Seetamonee, Rajmeela (2021). "Fête du Printemps : au cœur d'une célébration religieuse et familiale". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  17. ^ Edouard, Olivia (2020-01-26). "Nouvel an chinois: fête du Printemps, tout sauf ratée!". lexpress.mu (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  18. ^ "Chinese Dim Sum Menu Translator". thespruceeats.com. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.