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Black Sesame Soup

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Black Sesame Soup is a classic Chinese dessert soup that is served warm. It is surprisingly simple to make but complex and nutty in flavor. Serve at the end of the meal, as an afternoon snack, or even for breakfast. All you need are black sesame seeds, rice, honey, and water.

Bowl of Black Sesame Soup, topped with white sesame seeds.
Black Sesame Soup, ready to eat.

Why This Recipe Works

Oh man, you're going to love this dessert!

We make and eat a lot of sweet soups at home. From Banana Tapioca (Che Chuoi) to Purple Sweet Potato Tapioca, dessert soups are one of my favorite forms of dessert.

Black Sesame Soup is a classic and one of the easiest ones to make. I love the dark deep color of this dessert and those warm, rich flavors. It's smooth in texture and a bit nutty...ahh super ono!

It looks complex and for a long time, I only ate it at restaurants. I never thought of Black Sesame Soup as something I could make at home. But you can! It's very straightforward and approachable.

Only rule? Make sure to serve it hot!

A dish of roasted black sesame seeds.
Roasted Black Sesame Seeds.

Black Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds (both black and white) are some of my favorite ingredients to cook with. They are versatile, accessible, and most importantly, delicious.

There's also believed to be many black sesame benefits. One includes helping with hair growth...pretty neat ^_^

For this recipe you'll need roasted black sesame seeds, which can be found at most Asian markets.

If you have not-roasted black sesame seeds, then just double the amount of time you toast the black sesame seeds in a dry pan (Step 2 of this recipe). The black sesame seeds are ready when it becomes very fragrant and nutty.

Ingredients for Black Sesame Soup (black sesame seeds, glutinous rice, and honey).
Ingredients for Black Sesame Soup.

Ingredients

  • Roasted black sesame seeds
  • Glutinous rice - This type of rice may also be labeled as mochi rice or sweet rice.
  • Honey - This is what we use to sweeten the dessert. There are many other sweetener options, see the next section for more details.
One bowl of honey and one bowl of kokuto (Japanese black sugar).
Honey on top. Kokuto (Japanese black sugar) on bottom.

Sweetener Options

I always like to use honey to sweeten this Black Sesame Soup, but rock sugar is the classic sweetener for this dessert.

Feel free to use any form of sweetener you like. We've also done it with kokuto, which is Japanese black sugar (pictured above) and brown sugar.

You can even use white sugar (though that's my least preferred choice) and even syrups. We've made this with kuromitsu and homemade ginger syrup! The options are endless.

Bowl of Black Sesame Soup, topped with white sesame seeds.
Black Sesame Soup, topped with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds.

Step by Step Directions

Soak the rice.
Place the glutinous rice in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in the refrigerator. Drain the water and set aside the rice.

Toast the black sesame seeds.
In a shallow pan over low heat, lightly toast the black sesame seeds for 3-4 minutes until it's fragrant. You should be able to smell this, the scent of toasted black sesame seeds is wonderful.

Blend.
In a blender, combine the drained rice, toasted black sesame seeds, and water. Blend on high for 2 minutes until smooth.

Cook.
Pour the blended mixture into a pot. Gently cook the black sesame soup over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The texture of the soup will gradually get thicker the longer you cook.

Tip: Make sure to constantly stir the soup while cooking or else it will stick to the bottom of the pot.

Sweeten.
Turn the heat to low. Stir in the honey and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve.
Pour into bowls and serve hot! Serve the dessert soup plain. Or top with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds or drizzle of coconut milk.

Bowl of Black Sesame Soup, topped with coconut milk
Black Sesame Soup topped with a drizzle of coconut milk.

FAQs and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

2-3 days in the refrigerator.

How to reheat this dish?

Just rewarm in a small pot over the stove on medium-low. (I don't like to microwave it because it tends to splatter as the soup is quite thick)

How thick is this soup?

You can use more or less water depending on how thick you like the dessert soup to be.

I recommend following the ratios on our recipe below for the first time you make it. And then next time (hopefully there will be a next time ^_^), you can adjust if needed.

Also! The longer you cook the dessert soup, the thicker it will get (because the water will gradually evaporate).

How to serve this dish?

You can serve it plain, as-is. That is the most popular way to serve.

Or top it with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds (for color contrast).

Or a drizzle of coconut milk (pictured above). Just open a can of full-fat coconut milk (make sure to shake well) and drizzle on a spoonful. Bonus points if you make warm, salted coconut milk. This is done by gently warming the coconut milk in a small sauce pan and adding a pinch of sugar. It is super onolicious this way!

Black Sesame Soup Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Like this recipe? Please give it 5 stars and share!

Bowl of Black Sesame Soup, topped with white sesame seeds.

Black Sesame Soup

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes

Black Sesame Soup is a classic Chinese dessert soup that is served warm. It is surprisingly simple to make but complex and nutty in flavor. Serve at the end of the meal, as an afternoon snack, or even for breakfast. All you need are black sesame seeds, rice, honey, and water.

Instructions

  1. Soak the rice. Place the glutinous rice in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in the refrigerator. Drain the water and set aside the rice.
  2. Toast the black sesame seeds. In a shallow pan over low heat, lightly toast the black sesame seeds for 3-4 minutes until it's fragrant. You should be able to smell this, the scent of toasted black sesame seeds is wonderful.
  3. In a blender, combine the drained rice, toasted black sesame seeds, and water. Blend on high for 2 minutes until smooth.
  4. Pour the blended mixture into a pot. Gently cook the black sesame soup over medium heat for about 10 minutes (the texture of the soup will gradually get thicker). Make sure to constantly stir or else it will stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Turn the heat to low. Stir in the honey and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour into bowls and serve hot! Serve as-is, or top with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds or drizzle of coconut milk.

Notes

Feel free to replace the honey with any sweetener of your choice. We also like to use kokuto (Japanese black sugar), rock sugar, and brown sugar.

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Mahalo for Reading!

LEO

Saturday 8th of May 2021

Just made it now and gulped down the whole recipe. LOL. I love sesame seed in every form. And I just happen to have a boat load of black ones. Definitely serve hot. Then I drank it at the same temperature as I would a nice up of tea. I found it easier in a mug. Very filling. Thanks Kathy!

Kathy

Saturday 8th of May 2021

Aloha Leo! So happy you enjoyed! This is one of my favorite desserts...and I also love drinking it out of a cup :) It makes such a nice, toasty breakfast on cooler mornings. Hooray for sesame seeds! - Kathy

Romy

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

If you have a blender, now is the time to use it. My immersion blender was not up to the task (gritty). Still tasty. I plan to try subbing sesame paste/butter and glutinous rice flour in the future for my blender-less home. If you enjoy coconut, highly recommend the coconut milk drizzle. Thanks for another easy to follow recipe.

Kathy

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Aloha Romy! Thanks so much for your comment, good to know about the immersion blender! We use a Vitamix to get it super smooth, but sesame paste + glutinous rice flour is a really good tip. Thank you ^_^ - Kathy