Black sesame powder is an aromatic and nutty ingredient used in many delicious recipes spanning cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Korean and more.
While the seeds themselves are small, they pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition and flavor.
Black sesame powder offers an easy way to add this ingredient to both sweet and savory dishes.
What is Black Sesame Powder?
Black sesame powder is made from ground black sesame seeds. The seeds provide a bolder, earthier taste compared to regular white sesame seeds. The powder highlights the rich, nutty sesame flavor while removing the crunch of the whole seeds.
Some key things to know:
- Black sesame seeds are simply the unhulled version of white sesame seeds. The hull or outer shell gives them their beautiful black color.
- Removing the hull also removes some of the nutrition and flavor. Black sesame seeds are richer in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants compared to the hulled white variety.
- Grinding the seeds releases their natural oils, concentrating the sesame essence. The powder has a smoother, silkier texture than whole seeds.
- The powder has a strong, nutty aroma and a slightly bitter, earthy taste. The rich flavor plays well in both sweet and savory recipes.
Black sesame powder gives you the nutritional benefits of the unhulled seeds in an easy to use, smooth and intensely flavored form. Keep reading to learn creative ways to use it!
How to Make Black Sesame Powder
Making your own freshly ground black sesame powder is simple. Here are the basic steps:
- Toast the black sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast until fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before grinding to prevent the seeds from releasing too much oil and turning into a paste.
- Grind the cooled seeds in a dedicated coffee grinder or blender in short 5-10 second pulses. Don't overblend into a paste.
- Store the powder in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Grinding releases some of the oil, but the powder should still have a fluffy, dry texture. If yours seems overly oily or sticky, you likely overprocessed it. No worries - just use as is or add a bit more seeds to absorb the excess oil.
Key Takeaway: Make black sesame powder by dry toasting whole seeds, cooling completely, and grinding in short pulses. The powder keeps for months refrigerated.
Sweet Uses for Black Sesame Powder
The nutty, slightly bitter taste of black sesame powder pairs deliciously with sweet flavors. Here are some ideas:
Black Sesame Desserts
- Add to cake, cookies, muffins, quick breads for flavor and color
- Make black sesame ice cream or blend into milkshakes
- Fold into mochi dough to make black sesame mochi
- Swirl into cheesecake or incorporate into no-bake desserts like pudding
- Use in homemade candy like sesame brittle, halvah, peanut brittle
- Blend with coconut oil and sweetener for sesame butter to spread or use in recipes
- Mix with hot water and sugar to make black sesame tong sui (Chinese sweet soup)
- Add to lattes, hot chocolate, chai
- Blend into smoothies for nutrition and earthy flavor
- Make plant-based milk by blending with nuts, seeds, coconut
- Mix with lemonade, tea, milkshakes
- Sprinkle on yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, French toast
- Swirl into overnight oats
- Fold into waffle or pancake batter
- Mix into granola or trail mixes
- Fold into muffin, quick bread, scones, coffee cake
- Add to cookie doughs like shortbread, butter cookies, biscotti
- Use in place of flour in brownies and blondies
- Mix into pie dough and biscuit dough
Other Sweet Treats
- Knead into homemade marshmallows
- Add to rice cereal treats and snack mixes
- Make black sesame bark by coating pretzels or nuts
- Coat fresh fruit like banana slices, apples, pears, mango
Key Takeaway: Black sesame powder shines in many desserts like ice cream, pudding, mochi and drinks like lattes and smoothies. It also adds nutty flavor to breakfast foods like yogurt, oats and more.
Savory Uses for Black Sesame Powder
While black sesame powder excels in sweets, its bold flavor also enhances many savory dishes across global cuisines. Here are some tasty ways to use it:
- Make black sesame salad dressings
- Fold into fried rice, noodle stir fries, congee
- Mix into dumpling fillings
- Coat meat, tofu or veggies before frying or baking
- Add to ramen broths and dipping sauces
- Sprinkle on sushi rolls or poke bowls
- Mix with oil and salt for sesame furikake to top rice
- Coat proteins like chicken, pork, fish before cooking
- Fold into hamburger patties and meatballs
- Add richness to sauces and gravies
- Mix into dips like hummus, baba ghanoush
- Sprinkle on eggs, avocado toast, nachos
- Swirl into soups, stews, chilis
Snacks and Sides
- Toss with roasted veggies
- Mix into guacamole and salsa
- Add to salad dressings and slaws
- Sprinkle on popcorns, nuts
- Coat crackers and snack mixes
Key Takeaway: The rich, nutty taste of black sesame powder shines in many Asian dishes. It also enhances everyday cooking by coating proteins, adding richness to sauces and more.
|Desserts like ice cream, pudding
|Asian fare like fried rice, dipping sauces
|Drinks like lattes, smoothies
|Everyday cooking like meat, sauces
|Breakfasts like yogurt, oatmeal
|Snacks like guacamole, crackers
|Baking like cookies, scones
|Salad dressings and slaws
Does black sesame powder go bad?
Properly stored, black sesame powder keeps for 6-8 months refrigerated and up to a year in the freezer before losing freshness and flavor. Signs it has gone off are a rancid smell and bitter taste.
Is black sesame powder gluten free?
Yes, black sesame powder is naturally gluten free. The seeds do not contain gluten, so you can enjoy the powder if following a gluten free diet, as long as it's not processed with other gluten containing ingredients. Always check labels if purchasing commercially made powders.
What's the difference between black sesame powder and paste?
Powder is dry and fluffy while paste has a wetter, dough-like texture from the oils being released. Paste is made by grinding the seeds further until a thick, sticky paste forms. Powder offers more versatility, while paste suits recipes wanting a creamy sesame flavor like in filled desserts and spreads.
What does black sesame powder taste like?
Black sesame powder has a strong nutty and aromatic flavor with slightly bitter, earthy notes. The rich taste comes from the unhulled black sesame seeds which provide more flavor than white sesame seeds.
Can you substitute black sesame powder for tahini?
No, black sesame powder can't directly replace tahini (sesame seed paste). Tahini has a thick, creamy texture while the powder is dry. For baking, you can swap equal amounts, but for sauces, dressings and dips opt for another seed butter or paste.
Black sesame powder is an easy way to add nutritious seeds and rich flavor to recipes both sweet and savory.
Toast and grind whole black sesame seeds for fresh, homemade powder that keeps for months.
Use in desserts, baked goods, breakfasts, smoothies and much more for its aromatic, earthy taste.