today is May 22, 2022

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).

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: black sesame seeds, glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar.

Ingredients for Chinese black sesame soup: black sesame seeds, glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar.

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.

Rock sugar

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.

(1) Toast black sesame seeds on a frying pan. (2) Grind toasted black sesame seeds into fine powder. (3) Toast glutinous rice flour on a frying pan. (4) Boil water in a pot, then stir in ground sesame seeds, glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar. Stir until the soup is thick and smooth.

(1) Toast black sesame seeds on a frying pan. (2) Grind toasted black sesame seeds into fine powder. (3) Toast glutinous rice flour on a frying pan. (4) Boil water in a pot, then stir in ground sesame seeds, glutinous rice flour, and rock sugar. Stir until the soup is thick and smooth.

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.

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).

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.

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).

Chinese black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊).