Let’s Go Glutinous: A Simple and Healthy Chinese Dessert

sweet potato, glutinous rice powder, sesame seeds, deep fried, chinese dessertGrown up in the south of China I had very little experience of cooking with glutinous rice powder (or any other kind of rice powder or flour). But once I tried it the other day now I don’t want to stop! It’s so delicious, versatile, and easy to use. What makes it special is the signature tender and chewy feel given by the glutinous rice. If you have tried Japanese mochi you’d know what I am talking about.

The slightly burned little buns in the photo are the products of my first not-so-successful experiment. But they were delicious so I was happy anyway. Just imagine: the earthy sweet potato in a tender and glutinous texture! A satisfaction that is not only 100% vegan but also sugar-free. What more can you ask for…

This is a most simple way of using glutinous rice powder from where you could invent numerous combinations as you wish. Here’s how.



– 400g sweet potatos

– 400g glutinous rice powder

– water (very little)

– oil good for frying, ex: sunflower oil


– sugar (brown sugar, or honey if you want)

– sesame seeds for garnishing


1. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes

2. Steam them for 5-10 minutes until they are soft enough to press into a paste

3. In a large bowl, smash the sweet potatoes with a fork

4. Add in the glutinous powder slowly, mix well. Add a little sugar and water if needed

5. Knead the dough until it gets a nice consistency

6. Divide them into small balls and press them flat, so that they can be cooked faster

7. In a frying pan slowly fry them until they get brownish golden on both sides

8. Drain the excessive oil with a kitchen towel and garnish with sesame seeds

8. Eat when cool


1. With 400g sweet potatoes I made the ones in the photo. Simply remember to use the same amount of sweet potatoes and glutinous rice powder.

2. Choose the sweet potatoes that are orange inside for a softer texture and better flavor, otherwise you need to use more sugar in the dough. I happened to have used a very dry kind of potato (light yellow inside) and used too little powder and water, that’s why they got easily burned when I fried them.

3. The steaming time varies depending on your equipment. I usually use a pair of chopsticks to test the softness.

4. While steaming the sweet potatoes get very humid, so be careful not to add too much water. Before you mix it well the dough often looks a bit drier than it really is. I did it once before I mixed it thoroughly, and it turned out to be too soft.

5. You can make them in balls if you like. But balls take more time and more oil to cook, and get more oily in the end.

6. PLEASE eat them only after they cool down! You know why.


Since I was very pleased with how this first experiment came out, I tried with an advanced version: fried dough with Greek yogurt filling.

greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, glutinous rice plower, chinese dessert, fried doughIt’s almost the same recipe, except you fill them with Greek yogurt, and wrap them with bread crumbs. The yogurt has to be half frozen to be filled in. It seemed to be easy but it turned out to be NOT. While packing them I had to make the dough larger and larger to fit in the yogurt, but it still leaked out. I guess I should’ve left the yogurt longer in the freezer.

They taste good too, and more interesting – the freshness of the yogurt cleans up a bit the oily feel. So that’s nice. But honestly I would choose the simple version. Just my personal preference.

Now that I’m having fun with it, I will definitely try making different things with this versatile glutinous rice powder.


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