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Chinese Sweet Black Sesame Soup with Simple Flower Tang Yuan

This is a bowl of literal black gold that is not only a decadent sweet treat, but will also nourish your skin, hair, and body from within. It is super simple to make, only requires TWO main ingredients - black sesame seed and sticky rice. And it's naturally, vegan, gluten-free, and can be made sugar-free as well.

Did anyone notice the concept of dessert is quite different between the "East" and the "West"? In North America and most European countries, desserts are pretty much always just a sweet dish or snack that's carb, fat, and sugar-heavy (not that there's anything wrong with that I myself love all the desserts lol). But in China and lots of other Asian countries, desserts often serve as a medicinal remedy on top of satisfying one's sweet tooth. 

This sweet black sesame soup is one of the most widely loved Chinese desserts and a prime example of a sweet treat and medicinal benefits two in one. Black sesame is rich in antioxidants, zinc, iron, and fatty acids, among other nutrients. It can reduce oxidative stress in our liver, promote heart health, help regulate blood pressure, and nourish our skin and hair. And at the same time, it is such a decadent treat! It's just sweet enough, aromatic, VELVETY smooth, silky, rich, and simply unforgettable.

I made this recipe following the authentic traditional method, using whole black sesame seeds and whole-grain sticky rice instead of sticky rice flour. You can of course use sticky rice flour or rice flour instead for a quicker version but it really does not take much more time to use the whole grains and the texture is so much better!

You can enjoy the soup just as is or add any toppings you prefer, like goji berries, nuts, or these mini flower mochi I made. Watch the video below and if you have any other questions come find me on Instagram and Tiktok.


INGREDIENTS:

*makes two bowls or four cups of soup 

50 gram black sesame seed

60 gram sticky rice*

500 ml water*

4 tablespoon brown sugar, or adjust to taste


For the Tang Yuan -

1/2 cup glutinous rice flour

1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoon monk fruit extract or sugar


TO MAKE:

- Wash the sticky rice once or twice to remove any dust or dirt, the water does not need to come out completely clear;

- Soak the rice in 200 ml of water for at least 4 hours up to overnight, we will be using the water that the rice is soaked in so use cooking water;

- Toast your sesame seeds first, do not skip this step, even though we are gonna cook the sesame mixture later anyway, toasting first is the only way to really release that aroma;

- In a nonstick pan, toast dry sesame seeds over low heat until you can smell the aroma, will take about 5 - 10 minutes, do not burn them!! Otherwise your soup will be bitter;

- If making the mochi, mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make the dough while sesame seeds are toasting, gradually add the water into the dry ingredients while stirring with the other hand;

- Then knead till a smooth dough forms, the dough should be soft but not sticky, different brands of glutinous rice four has different levels of moisture in them, so if the dough feels too wet, add a touch more flour, if it's too dry, wet your hands then continue to knead more moisture in;

- Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes;

- When the sesame is done toasting, let them cool down, then transfer the soaked sticky rice plus the water the rice had been soaking in, sesame seeds, and rest of the water (300ml) to a blender, you can add more or less water depending on your preference of thickness, the amount of water is totally flexible here;

- Blend on high speed until smooth, if it looks too grainy, give it a shake and blend again, I recommend a high-speed blender like Vitamix;

- Pour the blended mixture over a fine-mesh strainer into a nonstick pot, if it's blended properly, there should be barely any scraps left on the strainer;

- Add brown sugar or sweetener of choice to the pot, cook over low heat, stir constantly, you will start to see clumps forming in the pot, that's the way it should be, keep stirring, trust the process;

- Slowly the entire pot of mixture will become an even texture and thicken up, the color will darken as well, from a gray color to almost black, it's ready to serve at this point, but if you are making the mochi, then cover and keep the soup warm;

- When the dough is rested, roll it into a thin cylinder shape, then cut into bite-size, if you have a mold, go ahead and use that to create your preferred shape;

- If you don't have a mold, don't worry you don't need one! Roll a bite-size dough piece into a ball, then flatten it, place 5 little cuts with equal distance between each two, and pinch each portion into a petal shape, then make two indentations on each petal;

- Bring a pot of water to boil, gently drop the tang yuan inside, cook till they are floating on the surface, strain them out and drop them in an ice bath to cool down;

- Serve the black sesame soup warm with tang yuan on top, enjoy!


NOTES:

- About the rice, I like sticky rice or sweet rice the best for this soup, but you can also use regular long grain rice, it will be less creamy but it will work perfectly fine;

- For the amount of water, you can add as much or as little you want, depending on the thickness you like, if the soup is getting too thick while cooking, you can add more hot water to thin it out, just make sure to stir and mix it evenly;

- Other great ingredients you can add to the soup mix: Chinese red dates, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries.


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