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Rethinking Seeds: Black Sesame Soup (芝麻糊)

While studying abroad in Shanghai, black sesame soup was one of my go-to weekday breakfasts. Aromatic, rich and nutty–it made my mornings sweet, and was substantial enough to hold me over until the lunch break.

Black sesame soup is a common breakfast and dessert in China. However, if you are unfamiliar and hesitant about its tar-like appearance, perhaps it would help to think of it as another type of breakfast porridge, like oatmeal. In fact, Madeline had previously posted a version of this that includes rolled oats.

This recipe consists of grounded black sesame, almonds, black rice and sweet rice flour. You can pre-make the mix in bulk, as it stores well in a dry place. Then come time for breakfast, all you have to do is add water, heat and your choice of a sweetener (like making oatmeal)–an ideal recipe to add to your ‘quick breakfast’ arsenal.

If you consider eating seeds to be too ascetic, black sesame soup–rich and creamy–should make you reconsider. Sometimes, rethinking our perceptions about certain foods is the key to unlocking culinary treasures. Open sesame! =)

Black Sesame Soup (芝麻糊)


  • 1 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup almonds (grounded)
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup black rice (grounded)
  • sugar (or your choice of sweetener)

Serves 5


Toast black sesame seeds on stove or in toaster oven. Using a spice grinder or food processor, pulse toasted black sesame seeds until finely grounded.  Mix together all ingredients, except for the sugar. Store in a dry place.

To prepare an individual serving, combine 1/2 cup of the black sesame mixture and 1 cup of water in a pot. Simmer over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until the consistency has thickened, stir occasionally. Add sugar to taste.

Tip: When toasting black sesame seeds, how do you make sure your seeds aren’t burnt? Burnt or not, black sesame seeds look the same. Use your nose. Or alternatively, throw a white sesame seed in the batch, and when that turns golden, then your seeds are toasted. But if you can no longer spot the white sesame seed, your seeds are burnt. =(

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