Ever since I ordered black sesame jin dui (fried sesame glutinous rice balls) at a dim sum restaurant in Vancouver B.C., J has been slightly obsessed with the aromatic flavor of black sesame seeds. He refused to eat any jin dui stuffed with red bean paste! I, on the other hand, am no stranger to the wonderful aromas of black sesame seeds. One of my favorite desserts is sweet black sesame soup.
When I saw the recipe for “black sesame ice cream” in my latest test book “The Vegan Scoop”, I just had to try it! I adapted the recipe by toasting the sesame seeds. Since the seeds are black, this step needs to be done very carefully, otherwise you will end up with burnt seeds. You need to go with your nose on this one, heat gently until aromatic, but not burnt. The seeds were then pounded using a pestle and mortar. The aromas released were divine! The smell was similar to the taste of crispy-fried chicken skin (sorry to my vegan/vegetarian readers). However, when I poured the seeds into the soy milk mixture, I was sadly disappointed. There were a lot of sesame seeds that I missed, so I just chucked the whole mixture into a liquidizer (blender) and blitzed it. The result looked like milk with specks of vanilla pod. Thankfully, after heating the mixture, it took on a darker “gray” hue. I would like to think that pounding the seeds (to some extent) releases more flavor than just blitzing them in a liquidizer, but who knows. Feel free to use any method you choose is easiest for you.
The resulting ice cream is absolutely delicious. It’s lightly sweet, toasty, roasty, and tastes like someone has seasoned the creamy ice cream with toasted sesame oil. And the best bit is that it’s gray in color. I would have liked the color to be black, and I will try with more sesame seeds next time.
TOASTED BLACK SESAME (GOMA) ICE CREAM – VEGAN
Makes just under 1 litre (1 quart)
Adapted from “The Vegan Scoop”, by Wheeler del Torro
- 240 ml (1 c) soy milk*, divided
- 16 g (2 tablespoons) arrowroot powder
- 40 g (5 tablespoons) black sesame seeds
- 480 ml (2 c) soy creamer**
- 100 g (⅓ c and 2 tablespoons) unrefined dark muscuvado (brown) sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* If you choose not to have soy in your diet, you can easily use nut/rice or other milk alternatives. MimicCreme is also a great substitute for the creamer.
** In the US, most soy creamers come in 1 US pint (473 ml) cartons, just use this; you do not need to compensate with more soy milk. If you can’t find soy creamer, use 100 % soy milk/other alternative.
1. In a small bowl, mix together 60 ml (¼ c) soy milk and arrowroot, set aside.
2. In a small non-stick frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over low heat for about 4-5 minutes. The seeds should smell aromatic, but not burnt. Immediately transfer to a dish/mortar. If your seeds smell burnt, you will have to start again. Lightly pound the seeds using a pestle, if desired.
3. Pour the remaining soy milk, creamer, sugar, salt and seeds into a liquidizer (blender) and blitz until smooth.
4. Pour the sesame seed mixture into a small saucepan. Gently heat the mixture, stirring constantly until it begins to boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the arrowroot milk. The mixture should thicken considerably. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Place mixture in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or until well chilled.
6. Once chilled, churn/freeze in an ice cream maker^, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic/glass container with lid and freeze overnight.
7. To enjoy, simply remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before scooping and enjoying.
^ If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the chilled mixture into a durable container and freeze for 45 minutes. Remove from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a fork, whisk or hand (stick) blender. Make sure that you beat it up well, breaking up all frozen sections. Return the mixture to the freezer. Repeat this procedure every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously until the mixture is evenly frozen. Add the remaining pistachios towards the last stirring. This procedure will take about 3 hours.