Sweet & Spicy Sesame Dumplings

April  6, 2011
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes 15 to 16 dumplings
Author Notes

The filling is from a rice dumpling recipe handed down from my mother. Traditionally known as "kozhakattai" (learning to pronounce this word correctly involves a graduate-level tutorial; the "z" in the word is not pronounced as in zebra!!), these steamed dumplings are made with a cooked rice flour dough and filled with primarily three different fillings, 1. a sweet one with coconut, 2. a spicy filling made from "urad" dal, and 3. a sweet/spicy combination made with sesame & jaggery (gud). Learning to make these is an art in itself—while steaming them to perfection without having the thin rice flour dough crack and disintegrate is pure science in my opinion!

I've used the sweet & spicy filling with commercially available dumpling wrappers, and deep-fried them. They're soft and chewy when fresh, and warm with the flavors of nutty sesame and earthy jaggery, interspersed with the tiniest hints of red chile heat and salt. It's the toasted red chile that commands attention in this snack, asserting itself sharply against the comforting sesame and jaggery. of As they cool, the dumpling dough tends to crisp up and can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. —Panfusine

Test Kitchen Notes

Sweet, spicy, crispy with a touch of salt—everything in one bite. It's a satistfying mouthful with what seems like very few ingredients, just some seeds and a chile. Simple to make yet compelling and satisfying. —CK1

What You'll Need
  • 5 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 dried red chile, deseeded and lightly toasted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled jaggery (gud) or muscovado sugar
  • 15 to 16 round dumpling wrappers
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the toasted red chilli into a coarse powder. Set aside.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds until they turn lightly brown and begin emitting a nutty aroma. While still warm, pulse the seeds using a coffee grinder until they resemble bread crumbs.
  3. Add the ground red chile and salt to the coarsely powdered sesame. Mix to combine.
  4. Add the crumbled jaggery (gud). Using your fingertips, gently incorporate into the sesame mixture until the jaggery has softened and is dispersed evenly. The mixture should be grainy and barely sticky to the touch. (Sample the mix at this point. The nutty sesame should be the dominating flavor and seem slightly under-sweetened. Resist the temptation to add more jaggery, since the deep-frying process will melt the jaggery and accentuate the sweetness).
  5. Place 2 teaspoons of the mix in the center of a dumpling wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper and seal eliminating any air pockets. Press and seal with the tines of a fork along the semicircular circumference.
  6. Heat oil in a wok (or deep-sided pan) and deep-fry the stuffed dumplings in batches until golden brown (about a minute on each side). Remove and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Prashank Saxena
    Prashank Saxena
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Sagegreen
  • boulangere
  • hardlikearmour
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

24 Reviews

Prashank S. January 26, 2020
muscovado sugar is the closest option I can think of. But yes, it should be purchased from the best - ( is one of them.
Hayzel B. January 8, 2017
Thank you for the prompt response. I may have to skip this altogether or leave out the sweet element.
Hayzel B. January 8, 2017
I am very interested in this recipe but I will not even to get the jaggery substitute(muscovado sugar). Help!!!!!!!
Panfusine January 8, 2017
other ingredients that work well would be 'Panela' (which is basically the same as jaggery, or even coconut sugar)
LeBec F. April 8, 2016
p.s. I forgot to say that one of the more extraordinary things about you as a chef is the articulate way you write your recipes--so informative and with so many directions for situations that might occur in making the recipe.
LeBec F. April 8, 2016
wow, pan, these are fantastic! can't wait to try them! would you be able to post the recipes for the other 2 fillings? I would like to try them all. and plse remind me, in what part of india are they found? thx so much!
Curry L. January 15, 2017
South - Kerala/Tamil Nadu
Panfusine January 15, 2017
@le Bec fin.. sorry for the UBER late response.
here's the recipe for the sweet version.

and the savory version is buried in the blog post.
Sagegreen July 23, 2011
These look really delicate and delicious!
boulangere April 23, 2011
Congratulations on winning an EP! Richly deserved.
Panfusine April 23, 2011
Credit for the EP also goes to you Boulangere, thanks for validating the recipe so beautifully!
boulangere April 23, 2011
Too kind!
boulangere April 14, 2011
Okay, you're going to have to help me with the crumbled jaggery. What on earth is it?
Panfusine April 14, 2011
Glad to help Boulangere, Thanks for volunteering to test this. Jaggery is basically unrefined cane sugar without the molasses removed. Its available at any Indian grocery store & is referred to as 'gud'..just to give you an idea of how it looks, here's a pic from wikipedia. Hope this helps!
boulangere April 14, 2011
Thank you, that helps tremendously. However, I find myself living in Billings, Montana, where we are unfortunately short on Indian grocery stores (when I get back to California on visits, I shop boxes of stuff home to myself). Can you point me toward an acceptable substitute?
Panfusine April 14, 2011
The closest I can think of is muscovado sugar, the moist sticky variety, you may get a slightly sweeter confection, but you can adjust the sesame to tune it to your preference.
boulangere April 14, 2011
I was hoping that would be your answer! That I know I can get. Thanks. This going to be fun - I'd been eyeing them ever since you posted them.
boulangere April 19, 2011
The muscovado sugar worked (I hope) perfectly. Thank you for all your help. Testing these was an utter joy. I absolutely love them! Now part of the repertoire.
Panfusine April 19, 2011
Wow! Thanks Boulangere for that ringing endorsement. This was a recipe dictated to me by my mother, a week before she passed away. this means a lot to me!
boulangere April 19, 2011
Oh my goodness, how lucky you are! And how generous of you to share with all of us.
boulangere April 14, 2011
I am SO happy I get to test these.
hardlikearmour April 7, 2011
Love the sound of the sweet & spicy filling.
gingerroot April 6, 2011
Wow, these sound delicious!
boulangere April 7, 2011
I agree!