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Hakzimaawu: Black Sesame Soup
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3 tbsp
long-grain rice
1 c
black sesame seeds
¼ c
peanuts, shelled
½ c
Chinese rock sugar (can substitute granulated sugar)
1 tsp
5 c

Don’t let its gloopy, jet-black appearance turn you off; black sesame soup (黑芝麻糊) is a gloriously nutty and aromatic Cantonese dessert. I first had it at an old-school dim sum shop in my mom’s hometown of Ipoh, Malaysia, and it was love at first slurp. Here I re-created this classic tong sui, adding a bit of peanuts into the mix to make a super fragrant, rich dessert.


  1. Soak the rice for at least 3 hours, or up to 12 hours. The rice should easily break apart post-soak.
  2. Preheat your oven to 320°F. Then spread the black sesame seeds and peanuts on two separate trays, toasting them in the oven until lightly browned. Alternatively, they can be toasted in a pan over low heat. Make sure to keep tossing and stirring to prevent them from burning.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blitz the sesame seeds and peanuts together until powdered. Be careful not to blend it for too long as they tend to release a lot of oil and clump up. A couple three-second bursts should do the trick! Add the soaked rice and roughly half of the water to the blender. Blend for 30 to 45 seconds until smooth.
  4. Place a sieve or strainer over a pot, and pour the blended liquid through the sieve. You’ll be left with some solid, pasty bits of black sesame in the strainer. Scoop this up and place it back into the blender. Add about a cup of water to the paste, and blend for another 30 seconds, then strain it into the pot again. If there is still a good amount of solids left in the strainer, repeat the blending-and-straining procedure once or twice more until there are barely any bits left in the strainer. Add any remaining water to the pot.
  5. Add the rock sugar and salt to the black sesame soup. Bring this to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Let it cook, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens and darkens in color.
  6. Serve piping hot!

Yi Jun Loh

Yi Jun Loh is a freelance writer and cook. An engineer by training, he immersed himself into the food industry right after graduating from Cambridge, learning to cook in Paris and then at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. He is now based in Malaysia, obsessing over food culture and science through his blog Jun & Tonic.