There are many sweet dessert soups in the asian home cook’s repertoire, and this one happens to be my Mum’s favourite. I personally prefer a sweet peanut soup (Fa sang wu), but still haven’t worked out how to make a non-cheating version that doesn’t use peanut butter.
I didn’t have a recipe on hand, so I searched and based my recipe on two likely candidates. What I did have however, was a secret weapon : black sesame powder. This really cuts the workload by half! I’d stumbled across this at the Asian supermarket a little while back, and had used it to flavour my Oriole macarons.
The whole soup making process was very simple, it involved soaking some rice , blending it with the black sesame, adding a bit of sugar and water, then cooking it until the desired texture was reached. Believe me when I say this recipe is extremely forgiving too.
Because it was so quick to make, I decided to add some glutinous rice balls to the soup too. Again, this is a super quick process.
But let’s get back to how forgiving the soup is. During the cooking process, I picked up some cooked glutinous rice balls, and when I went to put them down, they stuck to my fingers so I tried to get them off using the edge of a knife, then finally a chopstick. While I was busy shaking and scrabbling around with utensils, the soup had started to bubble furiously on the stove but I couldn’t stir it could I? Luckily, Mr. Kitchen Hand was home, so I yelled out and he came to stir and turn down the flame until I could get my hands free again. My hero ☺
Also, I like quite a thick soup, which is not too sweet. But when I tasted the soup, based on my estimated measurements, I discovered that the soup was actually a little too thick and needed more sugar. So I just added more water and sugar and heated it through again with no ill – effects.
What does it taste like? Well, if you like black sesame, it’s fantastic – full of that smoky, toasty flavour with just a hint of bitterness, and a rich mouthfeel. If you leave the soup until the next day, the bitterness disappears and the soup becomes richer and mellower. But like a lot of Asian desserts, this is an acquired taste and some might struggle with it…hmmm, let’s see, who comes to mind here? (Okay, I’ll let him off the hook for coming to my recue earlier).
Of course, I couldn’t resist having some fun with the soup. Perhaps you could “scare” your guests this Halloween and introduce them to some new cuisine at the same time? ☺
(Note: I stored my leftover soup in a covered airtight container in the fridge overnight. When I reheated it in the microwave the next day, it was much thicker in texture than the night before - the photos here are of the thick soup. At the end of the post is a photo taken at night of the thinner soup which I'd sieved, it is much smoother.)
It came from the black lagoon...
Have a great start to the week, and don’t forget, if you’d like to participate in our Muhibbah Malaysian Monday, please send your entries in to (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) at 3 Hungry Tummies who’ll be hosting this month. Thank you!
Black Sesame soup
Inspired by recipes found here and here.
1/4 cup rice (I used jasmine rice but I think any sort of long grain rice will do) – soaked for at least an hour. The rice should be brittle and crush easily when you rub them between your fingers. I used ½ cup water to soak.
½ cup black sesame powder (if you don’t have this, you’ll have to toast and grind your own, both the recipes I looked at have instructions on how to do it.)
Between 3 to 4 cups of water depending on your preference
About 5 tablespoons sugar (to taste) ( I used caster sugar because it melts easily. You can also use the more traditional rock sugar.)
Use a blender to grind the rice and sesame powder until fine – I added a cup of water to help. Once the mixture is as fine as can be, pass the mix through a sieve into a clean saucepan. If there are lots of bits left in the sieve, you might need to blitz that in the blender again. Otherwise, add the sugar to the mixture and about two cups of water to the pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to simmer and thicken. Stir very often, continuously if possible when it starts to heat up because the rice acts as a thickener and starts clumping. Stir until smooth. If too thick add more water to thin down.
You can then dish up, or if you want a really, really smooth soup, pass it through a sieve again.
Add a few glutinous rice balls to the soup if desired.
To make the rice balls, add enough water to some glutinous rice flour and knead until you get a pliable dough. I just eyeballed (heh, pun intended) my measurements, using about half a small bowl of flour and about 2 – 3 tablespoons of water (I think, maybe more).
(Sorry, night photo - if you sieve the soup, you get much smoothness)
Pinch pieces off the dough and roll into balls (or make any shape you like). Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil, drop a few balls into the water at a time, and when they float to the surface, scoop then out with a slotted spoon. Place on a slightly wet plate and set aside until needed. (I found that the wetness prevents the balls from sticking to the plate too much.)
To make the eyeballs, just use the end of a toothpick dipped in food colouring to put a little spot on each rice ball.