Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with Bahn Cam!

hi friends, remember me? it’s been awhile and i’m happy to be back! and what a better day for a come back then Tet (vietnamese new year). i hope the year of the dragon brings happiness and prosperity to you all. i have two dragons in my family even – my dad and older brother!

lets talk about bahn cam. they are balls made with rice flour, filled with mung beans, rolled in sesame seeds and deep fried. this was my first attempt and i am rather pleased with how they turned out. the best part about vietnamese desserts is that they are never overly sweet. these sesame balls have all the good stuff – a slight crunch, lovely chewiness and a subtle sweetness to the mung bean filling and outer shell. i also make sure to drain these really well after deep-frying to lessen the grease factor.

BANH CAM (adapted slightly from ravenous couple)
for the filling:
8 oz split peeled mung beans, soaked at least 1 hour or overnight
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C warm water
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut

for the dough:
2 1/2 – 3 cups water
1 C sugar
16 oz bag glutinous rice flour
1 C rice flour
2 T baking powder
2/3 cup mashed potato flakes
*note from original recipe: if you don’t have/can’t find mashed potato flakes, you can peel and boil a medium potato and mix that into the dough

1 C sesame seeds
oil for frying
oil to prep your hands for rolling dough

after soaking the mung beans over night, steam for 10 minutes and grind up in a food processor or blender. dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add to the mashed up beans, as well as the shredded coconut. stir until completely incorporated. refrigerate the filling while you prepare the dough.

once again, dissolve the sugar in 2 1/2 cups of water. stir in the mashed potato flakes (or boiled mashed potato). next add the baking powder, continuing to stir and finally add both of the rice flours. keep mixing until you get a big ball of dough. at this point, if you’re finding that you need more water – add that last half cup, a tablespoon at a time until all the dough has come together. you’re going to want it to be slightly sticky still. remember making play dough with cornstarch and water at home as a kid? keep that consistency in mind 🙂

scoop the filling into 3/4-1 inch balls and keep them nearby. add a couple of drops of canola oil to the palm of your hand and rub into both palms and finger tips (this will keep the slightly stick dough from sticking to your finger tips). now pull a part pieces of the dough and form into ping-pong sized balls. flatten the dough into a disc shape, plop the filling into the middle, pulling the edges of the disc around the filling – smoothing the seams with your finger tips.

roll the filled ball into the sesame seeds until it’s completely covered. then roll the ball in your hands again to get the sesame seeds to stick into the dough.

i use a little 4-5 inch sauce pan and fill it with canola oil. heat the oil until it’s ready for frying – i test it by sprinkling a couple of drops of water into it – when it bubbles away, it’s ready to go. at this size, i fried 5-6 balls at a time. initially they will sink to the bottom – once they float up to the surface, give them 3-4 more minutes, until they are golden, remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.