I am a person of habit, if I like something, I will order it every single time. I usually don’t have a problem with that. Carmen has changed that about me for the most part, but there are some things that I still order every time. I almost always order black sesame paste at Chinese dessert places. Hot or cold, I’ll take it either way, if you throw in some tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) with more black sesame filling it’s EVEN better.
Besides being deliciously aromatic and nutty in flavour, there are a ton of health benefits in having black sesame. It is vegan, gluten free, and full of protein. In traditional Chinese medicine, black sesame tonifies the liver and kidneys, and helps keep your grey hairs away.
Carmen is a fan of it too, I remember there was one year that Carmen went to Macau and for her “final” meal of the trip she asked for black sesame paste. Her aunt bought a GIANT tub (I’m pretty sure it was a family of 6 size), but she was a champ and somehow finished ALL of it. I remember being mesmerized by the milling mechanism. Traditionally, it’s toasted black sesame and rice that was soaked overnight ground on a stone mill until a paste/soup forms. If you’re curious of what it looks like, here’s a video.
Well, thankfully, we have an easier recipe than that, I mean no one has a stone mill.
Our sesame paste is more of a hack, that replicates the real thing really closely without having to use a stone mill or soaking rice overnight. The addition of the peanut butter gives it that beautiful creamy texture, and the sesame flavour still comes through.
Just so you know, these instructions are going to be a bit different than the video, my experiment failed just a bit … but we managed to save it.
The first step is to toast your sesame in your dry skillet over medium heat. Keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. Once it’s warm and fragrant you can remove it and pour into your blender. We use a Vitamix, so that makes quick work of grinding it into a powder. Depending on your preference, you don’t have to grind into a fine powder, personally, we like it still coarse. If you have a dry container, I would recommend using that. If you don’t have a blender, you can always do this in your spice grinder. If you don’t have that, then use a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have that, please head to the shop and get one of the above.
Originally, I wanted to do everything in the Vitamix, however it didn’t work out the way I wanted to since the water didn’t evaporate or thicken. If i were to try it again I would probably add water slowly until it thickens up to the consistency I like. However, the peanut butter and the sesame is so thick that it may give all but the strongest blenders some trouble.
So back to it, after the toasted black sesame is ground into a powder, pour that into a pot, along with the water and peanut butter. Over medium heat, stir until well combined, and there are no clumps. Add in the desired amount of rock sugar (can be substituted for white sugar), and continue to cook down until a nice paste is formed.
VOILA! That’s it. Serve it hot, top it off with some additional sesame seeds if desired.
If you liked this easy Chinese dessert hack, you may also like our 2-Ingredient Tofu Pudding recipe. Check it out!
The Easiest Chinese Black Sesame Paste
- 1½ cups Black Sesame
- 1½ cups Peanut Butter unsweetened & smooth
- 5 cups Hot Water
- 1-2 tbsp Rock Sugar or White Sugar to taste
- Toast black sesame in a saucepan on medium heat. Be careful not to burn the sesame. Once it is fragrant, turn off the heat.
- Put the toasted black sesame in a spice grinder or blender to grind into a fine powder.
- Pour in the water, black sesame powder, and peanut butter in a pot on medium heat. Keep stirring to combine.
- Add a knob of rock sugar or 1-2 tbsp of white sugar (to your preference) in the pot. Keep cooking the mixture down until sugar is melted and desired consistency is reached.
- Serve hot.