I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my goals for winter break was to learn how to cook Asian desserts. I guess I’ve had my fill of cheesecake and brownie baking – I enjoy consuming these desserts more than baking them (unless something really interesting comes up like olive oil cakes and chili chocolate bites:)) To kick off my plan, I made a nice big pot of black sesame soup to bring over to grandma’s yesterday. Sesame soup is a traditional Chinese dessert and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t like it. Thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, though not overwhelmingly sweet or heavy, it’s a perfect dessert for a cool evening. The flavor is pure nutty black sesame with subtle hints of rice (which also aids to thicken the soup). This soup is composed of basic ingredients: black sesame seed paste, jasmine rice, sugar and water. A plain bowl of black liquid may not be most aesthetically pleasing but after a warm spoonful that just teeters on the edge of being salty, you’ll realize that it’s really the taste, not appearance that counts!
Black Sesame Seed Soup
1 cup black sesame seed paste (I get mine from 99 Ranch)
1 cup jasmine rice
10 cups water
white sugar to taste
1. Soak rice in a cup of water overnight. Drain and blend the with 3 cups water until smooth. 2. Pour the rice/water mixture into a large pot and stir in the black sesame paste over low heat.
3. Gradually add the remaining 7 cups of water and continue to stir. Make sure to keep the heat low and constantly stir or everything will stick to the bottom of the pot! The soup should begin to thicken. Add more water if you prefer a thinner soup. 4. After the paste has completely dissolved and soup is at the desired consistency, add sugar by the quarter cup until it’s sweet as you like. Serve warm!
If you want to add some liveliness to the dessert you can make mochi balls out of glutinous rice flour and water or boil up some frozen ones to have with soup. Happy eating!
For me, leafing through a recently-released compendium of teas with many first-flush single-origin varieties is akin to salivating over those luscious photos of vegetables in a seed-seller’s catalogue: Each entry promising something new, summoning a hopeful if guarded belief in Nature and the growing conditions of my garden. What will the … Continue reading