Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sweet Sesame Dumpling

Japanese Summer treat ごまみつ団子

DSC_7129There were 43 (as of Saturday) wildfires in Oregon and Washington causing the haze in the vicinity of Portland last weekend. We were saddened by the news of firefighters’ death and at the same time we appreciate their courageous efforts...sincere condolences to the families.

Instead of the usual sweet azuki bean paste in the center, this unique dumpling uses black sesame paste and to me has just the right amount of sweetness. I‘m sure many of you have heard about its beneficial components (check here). I stock this in my pantry and on some mornings I spread it on toast with a little bit of honey…I know I have been blessed so much.

Ingredients and Instruction for 12 dumplings (Print Recipe Here) The recipe credit goes to Japanese food researcher and cookbook author Maki WatanabeDSC_7102

For filling -

  • 1/4 cup black sesame paste
  • 4 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered agar-agar powder

For dough -

  • 150g (1 bag) shratamako (白玉粉/refined rice flour)
  • 130 to140ml water

Ground black sesame seeds for garnish

  1. Making filling - Put all the filling ingredients in a small pan, stirring continuously, cook at low heat until it almost starts to boil. Spread in container of approximately 6 inch by 5 inch. Smooth out with spatula. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
  2. Making the dough - Put shiratamako in a medium size bowl, add water little by little while kneading the dough well to make a soft, moist dough, add little bit of water if the dough seems too stiff. Divide in 12 portions and form into balls. Note: shiratamako is lumpy and has big chunks so you need to crush the lumps as you knead it.DSC_7109DSC_7111DSC_7112DSC_7114
  3. Shaping  dumplings - Boil plenty of water in a pot.Take out the frozen filling and cut in 12 pieces, set aside. Ready a moist paper towel nearby for wiping your fingers. Take one ball and flatten on your palm to about a 3 inch round. Put filling in the center of flattened dough and gather the dough and close tight at the top. Anytime your fingers get black with the filling, wipe with paper towel so that the dough won’t get messy…you definitely like to keep the dough neat and white! Do this step as quickly as possible so that filling won’t melt but if it starts melting put it back in the freezer
  4. Cook the dumplings – Prepare the icy water in a large bowl. With slotted large spoon, gently place  3-4 dumplings in the boiling water. When the dumpling floats to the top of the water surface, cook for additional 2 minutes. Scoop up the dumplings with slotted spoon and put in the icy water until cool. Repeat the process with rest of dumplings. Sprinkle with ground black sesame seeds.and serve cold.
    DSC_7133Warning! dumpling get hard after a while especially If you keep in the refrigerator. Microwave for 15-20 seconds….then of course it is no longer a cold treat!


Blame it on the unusual Summer weather (?), something caused our Asian pears to drop on the ground it seems like all at once. My husband was able to save some..IMG_5163

The shiso/perilla leaves are dwindling…a sure sign of the end of Summer right?…I made juice (concentrated) for #todaystapas instagram post. Refreshing!IMG_5122

I gave in to my ramen craving the other day…IMG_5128

This is a healthier version of the ice cream sandwich recipe on the back of Honey Graham Cracker box. IMG_5141

Wishing you a wonderful week!


  1. The wildfires are so rampant at this time of year. Your dishes are beautiful, and I love the dish presentations! I have tried a few different types of pears such as Bosc and Anjou, but never the Asian ones...yet. I think I will have to try one soon! :)

  2. Your sesame dumplings reminded me of the mochi ice cream I once made, only mine was a big failure...ice cream melted big time and nothing looked like the round dumplings! I never ventured that way again. But looking at your ramen....yum yum...I can do that... and I think I will do that for today...after all, our summer has cooled down a bit:) Stayed blessed as always:)

    1. Thank you so much Annie. I must admit that I challenged mochi ice cream before too but it was so messy...by the way, your tomatoes look great!

  3. Dear Nippon, The dumplings sound wonderful and as for the craving of ramen noodles they look delicious!!!
    I like the healthy version of the ice-cream also. It looks delicious! xoxo Catherine

    1. Thank you Catherine! All your food look fantastic! I'm making the black bean salsa, yum!

  4. Akemi, Akemi, Akemi, you are waaay more talented than Martha, Martha, Martha!!

    1. Ha ha ha! You're so cute and funny! Than you Jalna!

  5. 和菓子、洋菓子。 梨のコンポート デザートまでなんでもござれ!
    日本で、このような御饂飩を出して頂けるお店は 皆無かと・・・
    センスに脱帽です。 私は関西育ちなので、麺つゆの薄い 甘めの昆布だしの

    1. コメントありがとうございます。 Anzu さんのブログは独特ですね。クールでおもしろかったです。 コメントをするところが見当たらなかったので、出来ませんでしたが。 これからもお邪魔します。 よろしくお願いします。

  6. these look great and so awful about the wild fire, prayers for rain

  7. These stuffed dumplings are so delicious! Fires are disastrous, hope it will rain soon!

  8. wow! Your Dumplings Rocks! So tasty!

  9. こんばんは。 梨がご主人によって救われたのですか、梨も本望ですね。 しその葉が少なくなると、夏も終わりに近づく、季節感に溢れてますね。東京にいると、全然分かりません。 こちらも最近は涼しくなってきました。 もうすぐ秋がきます。

  10. こんばんは。 梨がご主人によって救われたのですか、梨も本望ですね。 しその葉が少なくなると、夏も終わりに近づく、季節感に溢れてますね。東京にいると、全然分かりません。 こちらも最近は涼しくなってきました。 もうすぐ秋がきます。

  11. simply damn delicious dessert!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

  12. こんばんわ!ご無沙汰しています。

  13. I am a fan of glutinous rice dumplings! Love those black sesame filling. Those ice cream sandwiches look are so tempting too.

  14. I'm so sorry about the wildfire and loss of lives.
    Your dishes look beyond delicious as always. I love goma-dango :-) And the ice cream sandwich looks such a wonderful summer treat! Enjoy the rest of summer. Have a wonderful new week xoxo

  15. Hi Nippon Nin,

    These Japanese black sesame dumplings look very lovely and delicious. The Chinese eat the same kind of black sesame dumplings with sweet soup as cold or warm desserts too but we don't add agar agar in our filling and so the black sesame filling is not so jelly-kind like yours :)

    Sad to hear that the news about the firefighters.


  16. Horrible news... Firefighting is such a dangerous profession...
    Your dumplings are among the very rare Japanese sweet treats I'm genuinely attracted to! They look so chewy and so perfect like at Tokyo department stores' professional stalls!
    Wow! Ramen with shrimps. I must remember your wonderful idea!

  17. Your name is Akemi? That's my daughter's name too. :- )
    That looked like mochi and looks so tricky to make. Everything in this post sounds and looks so scrumptious!!!