Black Sesame Paste

It’s been raining for two days and I was really craving for some comfort dessert. Something warm, wholesome, not too sweet, and not too heavy will be perfect for weather like this. And voila, black sesame paste came to mind. In the neighbourhood where I spent my childhood was a shop, which was really more like a hole in the wall, with three big slow cooker. In them were black sesame paste, almond paste and peanut paste, and that’s all the lady sold. You can either have it there (no tables so you’ll have to stand with your porcelain bowl) or have it to go (which was scooped into a plastic bag). I remember being very fascinated by her bubbling concoctions and wondered how could one magically liquefy almonds or sesame seeds.

Well, I am glad I know the answer now because I am typing this while enjoying my bowl of hot black sesame paste. This is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed by generations of Chinese and you can find speciality dessert bars all over East Asia selling it. You can buy the just-add-hot-water-premix in Asian supermarkets but it is so much better to make it from scratch since it takes only 4 ingredients and under 15 minutes to cook.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

100 g black sesame seeds

50 g short grained rice

0.5 cup rock sugar (or granulated)

4 cups water


Soak rice in water for at least an hour (overnight is best).

Drain and set aside.

Toast sesame seeds on a pan until it starts to smoke a little but be careful not to burn it.

Let it cool completely before grinding it in a grain mill or blender until as fine as possible.

Combine sesame powder with rice in a blender and add 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a pot through a sieve to collect any solid bits.

Add in remaining 3 cups of water, sugar, and bring to a slow simmer while stirring constantly to prevent bottom from burning.

The soup will thicken gradually and be ready after 10 minutes.



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