Aug 13, 2014

Black Sesame Rice Balls

Exotic. Nutritionally superior. Deep sesame flavor. These little rice balls will blow your mind!

You’ve had tahini, no doubt, but have you ever tried BLACK tahini? You must. Made with black sesame seeds, it has a depth of flavor that is indescribable. Not sure of the nutrient content versus the traditional, brown sesame seed tahini. I searched the web and came up empty. But the flavor is decidedly unique. 
Sesame seeds are a wonder of nature. They contain a compound called sesamin, which helps the body to utilize nutrients from other foods. For a complete look at the nutritional properties of sesame, check out this page: SESAME SEEDS.

How about black rice? Yes, another taste sensation that you must try. Mix the two together and get a stunning culinary experience! Black rice has been traditionally called “forbidden rice.” Legend has it that the name was inspired because it was so nutritionally beneficial that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. Yes, black rice is high in nutrients and is a source of iron, vitamin E, and antioxidants—more than blueberries![1] And the hull (outermost layer) of black rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanin found in any food[3,4]. Anthocyanins are compounds naturally found in foods such as dark berries. They possess very high levels of antioxidant activity. You can tell the presence of these antioxidants in the black rice because when cooked, it turns dark purple. So, yeah, it’s a super food.

What is tekka? I discovered it not too long ago at a Japanese market. Popular in macrobiotic cuisine, tekka is a miso-based condiment which contains root vegetables; usually burdock root, carrot, ginger root, and lotus root, that have been roasted and ground. During a long, slow cooking process the liquid in the vegetables and miso evaporates completely, resulting in a dry, deep black, strengthening and energizing condiment. High in iron, the name “tekka” is derived from the words tetsu “iron” and ka “fire” so it literally means “iron fire.” This condiment is highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. It has a deep, slightly smoky flavor.

Enjoy these nutrient-dense rice balls as a side dish to any Asian meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2¼ cups water
  • 3 TBS black sesame paste (tahini)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional but adds another level of flavor)
  • 1 tsp tekka
  • ¼ cup + 2 TBS whole, raw sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Bring the rice and the water to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the water has been completely absorbed (about 30 minutes).
  2. Let the rice cool to room temp, then mix in the tahini, the tekka and the sesame oil, if using.
  3. Lightly dry-toast the whole sesame seeds in a stainless pan over medium heat. Don’t overcook!
  4. Form the rice into balls the size of golfballs (your hands WILL get black and gooey in the process but fear not, it washes off and does not stain), then gently roll the balls in the whole sesame seeds. I used a mixture of black and tan sesame seeds for this. The rice balls will be somewhat fragile but will hold together well enough to pick them up and eat them.

Makes about a dozen balls. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

References:

  1. Whole Grain Council “BLACK RICE RIVALS BLUEBERRIES AS ANTIOXIDANT SOURCE”, Zhimin Xu at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Study, August 26, 2010, (note: presentation at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston MA)
  2. Associated Press “A forbidden take on a healthy rice pudding” by SARA MOULTON, April 28, 2014
  3. CoffeeBlackEggWhiteBlog “Forbidden rice: a nutritional powerhouse” by Passerele, June 6, 2013 (note: cites Louisiana State University Agriculture Centre study)

4 responses to “Black Sesame Rice Balls”

  1. They're just stunning, yet so easy to make! It would be fun to plate them with reversed out balls…white rice with black sesame seeds. Sort of a yin yang thing! 🙂
    Many thanks for the recipe and the helpful info and links!

  2. Helyn says:

    I love the reverse idea! Enjoy them and you're welcome 🙂

  3. Helyn says:

    I hope you get to try them, Marie. Yeah, the tekka is uniques. It is high in sodium tho 🙁 so I use just a little in my recipes… Sometimes just a pinch on top of brown rice is yummy. You're welcome!!

  4. moonwatcher says:

    Man, Helyn, that's one powerhouse of a snack/meal! I am a big fan of both tahini and black rice. I had not heard of tekka and am intrigued. . .and "black" tahini? Intriguing also. . .I will have to try this at some point when all the ingredients come together up here in the Idaho boonies. 🙂 Thanks!

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