Recipes from Renton: Black Sesame Soup

This comforting Black Sesame Soup recipe is an excerpt from “Modern Asian Baking at Home: Essential Sweet and Savory Recipes for Milk Bread, Mochi, Mooncakes, and More; Inspired by the Subtle Asian Baking Community,” a cookbook from Renton’s own Kat Lieu.

“Having a bowl of this Chinese dessert transports me back to the nineties when my mother was a hardworking home seamstress, always hunched over her sewing machine, even after midnight, struggling to make ends meet. And yet she still managed to find time to make desserts like black sesame soup for our family,” said Lieu.

“‘Eat this if you want your hair always to be black and long,’ she told my sister and me. I’m almost forty, and most of my hair is still black. Black sesame soup is magical indeed.”


2/3 cup (about 80 g) black sesame powder

1/3 cup (40 g) glutinous rice flour

3 to 4 tablespoons (39 to 52 g) granulated sugar, adjust to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

3 cups (705 g) water

1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, softened, optional

White or black sesame seeds for garnishing, optional

Edible gold flakes for garnishing, optional

Yield: 2 bowls of black sesame soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 20 minutes


In a frying pan, add the black sesame powder and glutinous rice flour and toast over low heat for 10 minutes, until a toasted nutty aroma fills your kitchen.

Add the powder, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla extract if using, and water in a blender and mix on high speed until smooth and incorporated.

Sieve the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Here we only want the liquid, which results in a smooth and creamier black sesame soup.

Heat over medium heat, while continuously whisking, until the black sesame soup thickens to your desired consistency. Stir in the optional butter. Please note that as the mixture cools, it will thicken more.

Cool and garnish with a few sesame seeds and optional gold flakes. Serve warm, or chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or longer to enjoy it cold.

Tip: Pulse black sesame seeds in a food processor to make black sesame powder.