Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a snack

Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

This is a traditional fried sesame seed sweet found only in Valvettithurai and not in other parts of Sri Lanka. When we cooked these, neither Bamini nor I could wait for the sweets to cool properly before popping a few in our mouths — they are delicious and very addictive!


  • ¾ tablespoon green gram* (dried mung beans)
  • 120 g ( oz/1 cup) fine white rice flour
  • tablespoons roasted black gram (ulundu) flour*
  • 100 g ( oz/ cup) white sesame seeds
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) coconut cream*
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) coconut milk*
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) vegetable oil, for frying
  • 440 g (15½ oz/2 cups) sugar


To prepare the mixed gram flour, dry-roast the green gram in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat for 4 minutes. Cool slightly, then using a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), pound the green gram into a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the rice flour and black gram flour.

Sift the mixed gram flour into a large bowl and mix in the sesame seeds. Put the coconut cream and coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below the boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the flour and sesame mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture starts to come together, then use your hands to knead into a pliable dough.

Take ½ tablespoon of the dough into your hand and squeeze it a few times so the oil starts to release from the sesame seeds. Shape into a small log about 8 cm (3¼ inch) long and 1 cm (½ inch) thick. Tear off a little piece of dough and roll it into a small ball, the size of a hazelnut, making sure all edges are smooth and there are no cracks. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat the oil in a wok to approximately 150°C (300°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 35 seconds). Working in two batches, fry the dough balls for 4-5 minutes, tossing them regularly in the hot oil until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, then set aside to cool in a large deep bowl.

To make the syrup, bring 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water to the boil in a small saucepan, add the sugar, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and while hot, slowly pour the syrup over the sesame balls, a little at a time. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, making sure all the balls are evenly coated in the syrup. It’s important that you keep stirring until the syrup sets or the balls will clump together. Allow to cool before serving.