I love sesame in every shape and form. I am known to add a dollop if tahini in just about anything. In my morning protein shake, in the salad dressing and best of all drizzled over mango….oh my.
For such a tiny seed it sure packs a mighty punch nutritionally. It is an amazing source of copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, B1 and zinc. Sesame also helps to protect the liver from oxidative damage, can prevent high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. As I said, a mighty seed. It is widely used in middle eastern and asian dishes, two of my favourite cuisines. To me, especially asian cuisine marries taste and health benefits so beautifully. When it comes to its nutritional benefits, I do prefer to use unhulled sesame seeds though. They have a stronger taste, which I adore, but most importantly, it retains more of its nutritional benefit. For example, 1 tbs of unhulled sesame seeds contain 88 milligrams of calcium while hulled is about 60% less. Just some stats for you to give you an idea of the benefits to include sesame seed into your diet. If you read up on those seed, you will see many other health benefits besides calcium….you see, I am a bit of a stats nerd…Oh, and speaking of trivia, you know the expression “Open Sesame”? Well, this comes from the fact that the seed pod burst open when it reaches maturity. And in old indian legends, sesame seed represent a symbol of immortality. So think about that next time you indulge in some halva.
Until recently, I didn’t know black sesame existed. Yotam Ottolenghi mentioned black sesame paste in his new book Plenty More. This piqued my interest, then lo and behold, they appeared in my local health food store. So it seams black is the new green…Black is not a colour we see often in food, so it has quite a dramatic effect which I like. So I bought some without giving much thought as to how I would use it other than sprinkle it over my smoothies. According to chinese lore, black sesame enhances your appearance and in Korea, black sesame seed porridge is an invigorating dish. I have even seen black sesame ice cream. Black sesame is also even more nutrient dense than its white counter part.
I decided to use my first batch of seeds to make some black sesame bliss balls, using spices that remind me of the deep fried sesame balls at our yam cha place. I used Belle Gibson’s recipe from her book ‘The whole pantry‘
Black sesame bliss balls
- 1 3/4 cups of black sesame, washed and toasted
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1/3 cup goji berries
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 2 tbs chia seeds
- 3 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup honey/rice malt
- 2 tbs melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
Put the goji berries in a bowl of water to soak for 3-5min, then drain well.
Grind the toasted and cooled seeds to a coarse powder in a blender. Do not over-grind or they will turn to a paste. Combine with the pepitas, goji berries, coconut, chia, spices and salt in a bowl. Add the hone or rice malt and coconut oil and mix well, using a spoon first and then your finger tips. The mixture should be quite moist and cling together when squeezed gently. refrigerate for 30 minutes to make it easier to handle.
Place the white sesame seeds on a plate. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls, then roll each ball in the sesame seeds to coat. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until chilled. Sore in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
GF, DF, VGM
These balls are absolutely delicious and nothing like the many other bliss balls I made, due to the strong spice mix. If you love cardamom and cumin, these should tickle your taste buds. My kids found them a bit strong, so I would reduce the spices next time. I on the other hand found them very intriguing and moorish…