A Glance of the Diversity of Asian Sweet Snacks and Desserts14 Sep, 2021
Taiwan has a population of over 23 million people, and a confectionery and sweet snack industry that generates revenue of over US$500 million each year. Can you imagine the enormous potential of the same market with a global population of 7.8 billion people?
Desserts are often served to conclude a meal, yet there are many sweet treats that could be enjoyed all day long, and some of which can delightfully bring us back to precious moments and childhood memories with a simple bite.
There are countless types of confectionery and snacks in every culture, made with different ingredients and recipes into something unique and pleasurable. However, we will have our focus on Asia in this issue, introducing a few specialty sweet snacks and desserts that have peculiar textures and flavors.
Mochi – The Sweet and Sticky Rice Cakes
Glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice or sweet rice, is often used for making desserts in certain countries in Asia, and mochi is probably the most iconic of all. There are two different ways of making mochi, one is to steam cook the rice first, and then pound it till it’s sticky and chewy; the other method is simply combining glutinous rice flour with water to create a soft and highly elastic “rice dough”, which is more versatile for making other desserts.
Mochi is usually coated with a thin layer of starch or some sort of powder to prevent it from sticking, and it can be stuffed with different types of sweet fillings, such as bean pastes, custards, fruits, or chestnuts. There is also ice cream mochi, which is popular in the summer, and there seem to always be new and surprising ingredients wrapped in these soft and sticky rice cakes.
Deep Fried Sesame Ball
Also known as Jin Duei (煎堆) in Cantonese, or simply sesame balls, they are one of the most popular dim sum items in the Chinese tea houses; it’s made with sticky rice flour and some oil into a dough first, then each rice ball is filled with sweet sesame or bean pastes, coated with sesame and then deep fried into crusty, airy, sticky and sweet puffs. In Vietnam, a similar snack is called “banh ran”with coconut milk (meaning fried cake), and the mung bean/sweet potato filled sesame balls are called “buchi” in the Philippines.
SD-97 Series Automatic Encrusting and Forming Machines are recommended for producing various types of mochi and sesame balls, it’s highly efficient and the production process could be adjusted according to different recipes and ingredients.
The Spherical Delights – Tangyuan and Bua Loi (Bua Loy)
Tangyuang (湯圓) is a type of sticky rice balls, it’s either made plain and small, or slightly larger with sweet sesame or peanut fillings, usually boiled and served as a dessert soup. The texture of these rice balls is similar to mochi, but slightly moister and silkier; the plain kind can be served either sweet or savory, and sometimes with other added ingredients, too.
In Thailand, the small colorful rice balls are called “bua loi”, meaning “floating lotus flowers”, which is one of the locals’ favorite sweets. Pigments from plants are used as natural dye, such as the green from pandan leaves, the blue from pea flowers, and orange from pumpkin. Bua loi is usually boiled and served with sweet coconut milk.
Boba – The Irresistible Tapioca Pearls
Shaken into milk teas and became a new beverage phenomenon in the world, the secret to the successful boba teas is the chewy tapioca balls. Recently, with the advancement of food science and technology, many companies have developed freezable, and even pre-cooked tapioca balls, which could be added to ice creams, popsicles, and numerous other products.
GD-18B Automatic Cutting and Rounding Machine is designed for producing spherical products such as tangyuang, bua loi, tapioca, or taro balls. It’s highly efficient and the output is consistent.
The Ultimate Sweetness - Cham Cham/Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamun is one of the sweetest Indian desserts, made with flour, milk solids (or curd) and shortening, it’s formed into small balls and deep fried before it’s soaked in syrup. Traditionally the syrup was usually made with rose water, but now it’s more common to find saffron and cardamom for the modern recipes. These soft and sugary balls are extremely fragrant and impressively sweet.
“Cham cham” is a type of Bengali sweet, also known as the “pleasure boats”. It’s almost like a sweet cheese, made with cream with added lemon or vinegar to form curd, then after rinsing, draining, and kneading, it’s divided into small marble sized balls and boiled in spiced syrup. Cham cham can be eaten plain or cut open like a hotdog bun and stuffed it with nuts or other sweet fillings for more glamour.
SD-97 Series Automatic Encrusting and Forming Machines & RC-180 Automatic Rounding Conveyor can save you all the trouble dividing and rolling, it’s highly productive and can be programmed to form perfectly round dessert balls in different sizes.
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