Sesame is first mentioned in a cuneiform document written 4,000 years ago, that describes the custom of serving the gods sesame wine. Herodotus, the historian, writes about the cultivation of sesame 3,500 years ago in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Ancient Iraq where it was mainly used as a source of oil.
The difference between Japanese sesame paste/neri goma and tahini is that neri goma is made with unhulled sesame seeds and tahini is made with hulled sesame seeds. Although homemade sesame pastes are possible, I purchased one in a jar from a Japanese market, for its finer finish.
Some of us know sesame paste as tahini or other names. It is used in all kinds of culinary creations. In Japan, both white and black sesame pastes are used to make dressings, sauces, and desserts. Some may think that black sesame paste adds undesirable grey color to the food. But don’t mind that. Its unique nutty, toasty flavor soon makes you a fan.
Japanese are very creative in using traditionally Japanese cuisine ingredients to make European desserts, such as this black sesame panna cotta treat!
Black Sesame Panna Cotta
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 7 gr / ¼ oz / 2¼ tsp unflavored, powdered gelatin -or- 2¼ tsp / 4.5 gr agar-agar
• 1¼ cups / 300 ml cold whole-milk, divided into ¼ cups & 1 cup
• 1¼ cups / 300 ml heavy whipping cream
• ½ cup / 100 gr granulated sugar
• 3 Tbsp black sesame paste (need to be well mixed before use)
– To make plain panna cotta, skip sesame paste and add ½ tsp pure vanilla extract.
– To make vegan version, use agar-agar, non-dairy cream and milk of choice.
– For lesser calorie, change 300ml/300ml milk/cream ratio to 450ml/150ml. Heat the cream, plus 150ml of milk. It will not be thick panna cotta consistency, but of soft pudding.
– Have ready, six 120 ml/ 4 oz(1/2 cup) ramekins or dessert glasses
– Have a big bowl of ice water ready for ice bath
◊ In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin powder over 1/4 cup cold milk, mix and let bloom for 10 minutes.
◊ Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saucepan, on medium-heat, heat heavy cream and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved and very hot, before simmering/boiling. Add bloomed gelatin and stir constantly, until gelatin is completely melted. Add black sesame paste and stir well until well heated (not simmering/boiling). Remove from heat.
◊ Pour in remaining cold whole-milk and stir well. Place saucepan on the ice-water and continue to stir until mixture cools down to consistency of a soft custard. This stirring process over ice-bath is very important. This is to keep sesame particles from separating and sinking to the bottom of the molds and to give even finish (as seen through the glass in the photos).
◊ Pour the mixture into prepared molds/glasses. Put on a tray and chill in refrigerator for 2~4 hours or until fully set. Dessert may be made in advance and should retain freshness in refrigerator for three days. To serve, top with a little whipped cream.
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
How about serving as Halloween dessert?
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?