Black Sesame Seeds From Japan

Black Sesame Seeds From Japan

Apr 25, 2023 Tags 

Japan has some of the most unique ingredients you’ll find. You’re probably used to that extra dusting of sesame seeds on top of your hamburgers for that perfect finish but have you ever seen black sesame seeds from Japan?

Kuragoma or black sesame seeds are a delicious ingredient used in Japanese cuisine. They are way more flavored than the normal sesame seeds and that is why it is sometimes gently roasted to bring out all their flavor. In this article, we will cover all you need to know about black sesame seeds, the flavor bomb that is sometimes overlooked.


What are black sesame seeds?


Black sesame seed is a tropical crop grown in places with long planting seasons and lots of sun. It is different from traditional sesame seeds in looks and taste. Japan is one of the largest producers of black sesame seeds, with many farmers growing them in the fertile soils of the countryside. 

The seeds are harvested and processed in a variety of ways to make them suitable for cooking, baking, or even as a topping for rice dishes. With their slightly bitter taste (compared to white sesame seeds) they add a graceful crunch to your cooking. Sesame is particularly rich in antioxidants and minerals making it a very healthy choice for people who want a balanced diet.


Black Sesame Paste


Black Sesame Paste


Black sesame paste (Kuro Neri Goma) is basically the seeds made into a paste. It has a distinctively nutty, aromatic, and earthy flavor. It also has a slightly bitter taste which is balanced with sweeteners like honey or sugar. When used in different recipes, its consistency varies. It can be reasonably firm, or runny and smooth like melted chocolate. 

It’s usually used as a base for sweet treats like ice cream, cookies, and milkshakes, as well as Savory dishes like miso soup, meat and vegetables, and raw fish.


History of Black Sesame Seeds


Previously, many studies believed that sesame seeds or Sesame Indicum were first cultivated in Africa however, historical records and further studies confirmed that it was actually derived from wild botanical populations native to southern Asia especially in India or the Punjab part of Pakistan as far back as the 1900-1400 BC and only spread to the west around 2000 BC. 

While India is still one of the largest exporters of black sesame seeds, it is also popularly farmed in Japan today. 

So many different species of sesame were cultivated that it is hard to track the origins of Black sesame seeds. What we do know is that it is also one of the first crops to be pressed to create oil in Asia. That is why, along with sesame seeds, sesame oil is also used in a lot of Japanese cuisines. 


Cooking with Black Sesame Seeds


When people think of sesame seeds, the only thing that probably comes to mind is just seasoning. Well, in Japan, foodies got more inventive. Black sesame seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Because of their nutty flavor, they pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. Some popular ways to use black sesame seeds in Japanese cuisine include:


Topping for rice dishes


Sesame Seeds on Rice


Black sesame seeds are commonly used as a topping for rice dishes such as ochazuke, a Japanese dish made with green tea and rice. It can also be used for onigiri, Japanese popular rice balls.



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Black Sesame for Desserts


Black Sesame Icecream


We have already covered how black sesame seeds are made into a paste but did you know that you can take it to the next level when you sweeten it? Black sesame seeds can be used to make desserts such as mochi, a sweet rice cake, and black sesame ice cream. Regular black sesame seed paste can elevate your sandwich when you use it as a paste. Ditch Nutella and go for a healthier alternative. There are a lot of Japanese desserts you are missing out on, this article will show you why you should try Japanese crêpes.


Baking with black sesame seeds


Black Sesame Cookies


If you can think of it, you can bake it. Black sesame seeds can be used as a key ingredient in baking to add flavor and texture to bread, cakes, and cookies.




Black Sesame Seeds


It can also be used to make seasonings in Japan. A popular seasoning for rice called furikake makes use of black sesame seed as a major ingredient. It can also be ground into a powder alone and used as a seasoning for meats, fish, and vegetables.


Nutritional Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds


The nutritional value of black sesame seeds is seriously on another level. A study comparing white and black sesame seeds found a significant difference in the presence of 20 metabolites. This means that there are far more nutrients in black sesame seeds than in white ones. The same study confirmed its significance in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • May Help Reduce Oxidative Stress- People living with chronic disease often experience oxidative stress, which is damage to cells caused by free radicals. Black sesame seeds contain antioxidants that may help reduce oxidative stress in the body. 
  • Encourage Heart Health- Sesame seeds are high in fiber which can help reduce toxic cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Both black and white sesame seeds contain magnesium, which plays a prominent role in heart health. Eating just one ounce of either kind of seed helps keep blood vessels healthy and lowers the risk of heart disease.
  • Nourish Your Skin From The Inside Out- Due to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, black sesame seeds are known for helping maintain the health of your skin. Eating them regularly may help promote elasticity, protect against free radicals, and even have an anti-inflammatory effect. Adding black sesame seeds to your diet can help greatly improve your skin.


Black Sesame Seed Paste Recipe


Black sesame paste recipes will have a strong nutty flavor which can be good for both sweet and savory dishes alike.

Black Sesame Paste for sweet dishes: 

  • ½ cup black sesame seeds 1 tablespoon honey.
  • Black sesame paste for savory dishes:
  •  ½ cup black sesame seeds 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil.


  1. Pour the seeds into an ungreased pan. Roast them over medium heat until there is a solid nutty, sesame aroma. Sesame seeds burn easily, so stir repeatedly until properly roasted.
  2. Place the roasted seeds into a blender and begin grinding. When you notice the seeds start to release their oils, pause the grinding. Scrape the seeds from the sides and the bottom of the blender and then begin grinding again. Repeat until smooth. 
  3. When the seeds are smooth and moist from the natural oils, add a sweetener of your choice(sugar or honey) or sesame oil and mix again to combine the ingredients.
  4. Mix until the seeds and sweetener are pasty and slightly liquid. Pour the paste onto a clean jar. Enjoy!

You can use this paste to make ice creams or even leave it as a spread for pastries. Japanese dishes are some of the most diverse in the world and you definitely won’t regret trying some. You can now get a taste of Japan delivered to your doorstep by buying our monthly snack boxes.



This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem and edited by us.