Black Sesame Paste

Nutty black sesame paste is a classic Chinese dessert. Topped with bee pollen and jujube dates for additional texture, this dessert can also be enjoyed plain.

Black Sesame Paste

Charissa Fay / Food Styling by Nora Singley / Prop Styling by Maeve Sheridan

Soak Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs 25 mins
6 servings

Black sesame paste, sometimes called black sesame soup, is a pudding-like dessert with a thin but viscous texture and a satisfying, mildly sweet, deeply nutty flavor. Popular in Chinese desserts, black sesame is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine-informed food therapy to nourish the kidney and liver and benefit hair growth. In this recipe from traditional Chinese medicine food therapist and chef Zoey Xinyi Gong, the dominant flavor is nutty sesame, with a faint warm sweetness from the dates. Jujube dates, which are among Gong's favorite pantry ingredients, are believed to strengthen the spleen and replenish blood. Here, they add chewy texture, while the bee pollen, sesame seeds, and osmanthus flower sprinkled on top of the dessert give it a bit of crunch.


  • 1 1/4 ounces uncooked purple glutinous rice (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened oat milk (such as Elmhurst)

  • 2 1/2 ounces black sesame seeds, toasted (about 6 1/2 tablespoons)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons multigrain powder (optional) 

  • 3 small jujube dates (about 1/3 ounce), pitted and chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar

  • Bee pollen, white sesame seeds, and osmanthus flower (optional)


  1. Place rice in a small bowl, and add water to cover. Let soak, uncovered, at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.

  2. Drain rice. Transfer rice to a blender. Add oat milk, black sesame seeds, multigrain powder (if using), and dates. Process until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar. Remove from heat. Spoon evenly into 6 bowls. Top with jujube dates, and garnish with bee pollen, white sesame seeds, and osmanthus flower, if desired. Serve warm.


Multigrain powder can be found at most Asian markets and online at

To Make Ahead

Black sesame paste can be made up to 2 days in advance. Warm over low heat before serving.

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