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黑芝麻糊 - Black Sesame Soup
Three-ingredient black sesame soup is a traditional Chinese dessert. This nutty and silky smooth dessert soup is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free.
Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊) is one of many Chinese desserts that falls into the category of sweet soup (糖水 - tong sui). With both sides of my grandparents being Cantonese, this dessert makes regular appearances in our family table.
It is now rather common for people to buy canned black sesame powder to make this dessert instead of starting with whole roasted black sesame seeds. I prefer making everything from scratch since it’s not difficult and I get to control what I put into the soup.
This easy three-ingredient soup is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free. Pretty awesome right as far as dessert goes? 😍
Ingredients for Chinese black sesame soup
This is a very simple soup with only three ingredients: black sesame seeds, glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar. The photo shows the exact products I use to prepare this soup at home.
Black sesame seeds
You can use either roasted black sesame seeds or plain (unroasted) black sesame seeds. You should be able to easily find packets of roasted black sesame seeds in a Chinese/Asian market. My neighborhood Asian market carries at least three different brands, each with a multitude of different sizes to choose from.
When you are using a newly open packet of roasted black sesame seeds, you can get away with skipping the roasting portion for the black sesame seeds.
If your packet of roasted black sesame seeds is more than 1 week old, or when you start with plain unroasted black sesame seeds, you will need to roast the black sesame seeds first. I will describe how to do this later.
Glutinous rice flour
The function of glutinous rice flour is to thicken the soup. You can also use rice flour (the one with a red label instead of the green label) for this soup, though I prefer the one with glutinous rice flour.
I use Chinese rock sugar when I make Chinese sweet soup. Rock sugar is not as sweet as regular granulated sugar. You can substitute rock sugar with regular sugar, but please half the amount so your soup doesn’t end up too sweet.
Step-by-step to prepare Chinese black sesame soup
1. Toast black sesame seeds
Place black sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed and increase the stirring frequency near the end. You will know that the sesame seeds are ready when they start to pop.
Immediately transfer the seeds to a cool plate/bowl. Properly toasted black sesame seeds have a fresh nutty fragrance, and they shatter easily when you press with your fingers.
By the way, you can use this exact method too to toast white sesame seeds.
2. Grind black sesame seeds
Wait until the sesame seeds are at least warm to touch. Transfer them into a food processor and pulverize into a fine powder.
A powerful food processor can grind the seeds into a very fine powder. Since the smoothness of the soup depends on the fineness of your black sesame powder, using a powerful food processor will help.
3. Toast glutinous rice flour
Place glutinous rice flour in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed and increase the stirring frequency near the end. Toast until the flour is lightly toasted with a light brown color.
4. Cook the soup
Boil a pot of water. Stir in black sesame seeds powder, toasted glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Use a whisk to stir until all the sugar melts and the soup is thick and smooth.
For an even smoother soup, you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender to further puree the soup.
Serving, storing, and reheating
There are two ways to serve this soup, as is, or with sticky rice balls (tang yuan). I love the soup as is, though it will be more filling and more satisfying with some boiled sticky rice balls.
If you wish to make sticky rice balls, please follow my savory tang yuan recipe and prepare the tang yuan portion of the recipe.
You can store any leftover of the black sesame soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simply reheat in a microwave when you wish to enjoy the soup. If the soup has become too thick during storage, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin the soup.
黑芝麻糊 - Black Sesame Soup
- 150 gram black sesame seeds, toasted
- 125 gram glutinous rice flour, toasted
- 100 gram rock sugar, or to taste (Note 1)
- 6 cups water
- Toast black sesame seeds: Place black sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed and increase the stirring frequency near the end. You will know that the sesame seeds are ready when they start to pop. Immediately transfer the seeds to a cool plate/bowl. Properly toasted black sesame seeds have a fresh nutty fragrance, and they shatter easily when you press with your fingers.
- Grind black sesame seeds: Wait until the sesame seeds are at least warm to touch. Transfer them into a food processor and pulverize into a fine powder.
- Toast glutinous rice flour: Place glutinous rice flour in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed and increase the stirring frequency near the end. Toast until the flour is lightly toasted with a light brown color.
- Cook the soup: Boil the 6 cups of water in a pot. Stir in black sesame seeds powder, toasted glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Use a whisk to stir until all the sugar melts and the soup is thick and smooth. For an even smoother soup, you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender to further puree the soup.
- (1) Or use 50 gram (~ 1/4 cup) regular granulated sugar.
Christine | Vermilion Roots says:
This is so perfect for wintertime. It's been cold and rainy where I am in the California Bay Area. I can imagine how comforting this soup will be. :-)
Hi Christine, yes this is really best to have during cold weather :)
Alicia Sipocz says:
I have been craving this since I had dim sum years ago... now I can just eat bowls of the stuff! Amazing, tastes just like the restaurant! Thanks for sharing!
Isn't it? And it is so easy to make at home too, so can save more tummy space for harder-to-replicate-at-home goodies when going for a dim sum :)
I’ve seen black sesame paste sold in stores. Do you think I can use that to make the soup?
I have not tried using black sesame paste before, but I believe it should work. If the only ingredient listed in the black sesame paste is black sesame seeds, then you can simply use the same amount of paste to replace the black sesame seeds, and keep everything else the same.
Shirley du says:
Thanks for the recipe! Excited to try. How do you grind the black sesame?
Hi Shirley, I use my Ninja food processor to grind it. If your blender has a dedicated spice attachment, that should work really well too. If all you have is a mortar and pestle, you should still be able to manually grind the sesame seeds once fully toasted. Toasted sesame seeds should be quite crumbly. :)
I love how dramatic black sesame seeds look as a garnish or in the traditional brittle candies, so I tend to buy these over their white counterparts. Recently I obtained a little stockpile of them, so a recipe like this is a perfect use!
The recipe is straight-forward, and I halved it with no problem. The nice thing about it is that you can grind the seeds to any texture- I whizzed mine briefly using an old coffee grinder, but I could do more if I wanted a smoother soup. It's just up to personal preference! Though I love those instant nut/grain drink/soups from a packet, this recipe is really convenient and easy- while giving you all the control over texture/sweetness.
Sara Welch says:
Tried this last night and it was a hit all around the table! Easily, a new favorite recipe in our home!
What a unique recipe. I love sesame flavor. I'm sure I'd enjoy this soup!
The soup is made with only four ingredients! WOW! I use black sesame seeds for baking, and I have never heard about soup. This something to give it a try: we are soup-lovers!
What a great idea to use sesame seeds to make soup! I often use them as a garnish, great to know that I can make a dish out of them as well.
This really does taste just like how it does at my favorite restaurant. DIY dim sum! YUM!
Hi! How do you roast flour? Do you just put it in The wok/ pan like this?
Hi Zerrissa, I just place flour in frying pan/wok and use medium heat to toast until fragrant and the color turns slightly darker (light brown) than original.
I don’t have glutinous rice flour but just glutinous rice. What would be the changes I’d need to make?
Hi CJ, if you have a strong blender and you are willing to spend the time, you can make glutinous rice flour from glutinous rice.
1. Rinse and drain 1 lb glutinous rice multiple times until water drains clear.
2. Soak rice in cold water overnight.
3. Strain the rice.
4. Grind the rice in a food processor or coffee grinder.
5. Pass through a strainer to catch big pieces.
6. Repeat grinding the big pieces of rice until they can all pass through a strainer.
If you don't plan to use all of the ground rice at once, you can freeze any unused portion.
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