Monday, 7 December 2015

Black Sesame Soup/Zhi Ma Hu 芝麻糊

This post is long overdue. I received a lot of requests for this recipe. Somehow, I procrastinated. I was given a big bag of black sesame seeds the other day and I immediately thought of making this long overdue black sesame soup. So here it is, my zhi ma hu.

Hu, when translated basically means paste. Therefore, it is no surprise that this dessert comes in a form of paste. Zhi ma hu is basically grounded black sesame seeds made into a sweet pasty dessert. Depending on where you come from and how you would like your dessert, this dessert can range from a very thick pasty cream to thin runny ones. I like mine not too thick but pasty enough to be called a hu, something like the consistency of a mushroom soup. The ultimate black sesame soup must be smooth to the throat, warm to the tummy and intensely fragrant when eaten.

This is one dessert that has many health benefits. The black sesame seeds are in rich in vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron. The Chinese believe that it helps to darken hair and improve kidney functions. As with every desserts, it has to come sweet but you could adjust the degree of sweetness to your liking. I recommend you to start with 80% of the sugar in the recipe and gradually increase until you are satisfied with the taste.  Traditionally, a grinder is used to grind this black sesame seeds to paste. Ironically, there is almost never a grinder in nowadays households. We have to therefore make do with our blenders. My blender is a just normal household blender. I blended the sesame seeds three times just to extract the most out of the seeds before throwing away the residue.

Black Sesame Soup/Zhi Ma Hu 芝麻糊

Makes 5 bowls


60 g black sesame seeds, toasted
20 g peanuts, toasted
30 g rice, soaked overnight or until the rice would break when rub with fingers
80 - 90 g rock sugar
3 1/2 cups water
a pinch of salt
1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)

Cooking Instruction

1. Wash and toast black sesame seeds in a wok/pan until fragrant. Be careful not to overcook the seeds as it will taste bitter. (Tips: add some white sesame seeds to be toasted together. When the white sesame seeds turn golden and you could smell the aroma or the sesame seeds, remove).

2. Put the sesame seeds, peanuts and soaked rice into a blender. Add 2 cups of water and blend for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a strainer and strain.

3. Put the residue from the strainer back into the blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend for 1 minute. Strain and repeat process until there are little residue left when strained. Discard the residue.

4. Put the strained slurry into a pot and add in sugar and salt (if using). Boil in medium fire until it thickens, stirring continuously. This is to prevent lumps from forming. When sugar is completely dissolved, the soup has thickened and boiling, remove from fire. Serve hot.

1. The number of times needed to blend the sesame seeds would depend on how powerful is your blender. 
2. The peanuts is to add a nutty fragrant and smooth consistency to the soup. You could replace with black sesame seeds.

Check out my Green Beans with Sweet Potatoes here:

Also check out my Bird's Nest with Gingko Nuts here:


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