Rabbit House Omakase & Sake Bar
41 Essex St., Lower East Side, Manhattan

Cover art for "Made Here: Recipes & Reflections from NYC’s Asian Communities"
Lap Cheong Fried Rice and other recipes are featured in “Made Here: Recipes & Reflections from NYC’s Asian Communities.” Cover credit: Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, Tina Zhou, Nat Belkov

In Japan, black sesame is one of the most popular ice cream flavors, so it was a natural source of inspiration for the Rabbit House menu, which aims to bring Japanese flavors to a New York audience. Distinctive with its jet-black color and savory, nutty flavor, black sesame paste lends a unique touch to any dessert. At Rabbit House, Yoshiko Sakuma lightens things up by making it a pudding rather than an ice cream. 

“It’s very simple and refreshing,” she said. Although you can make your own black sesame paste at home in a food processor, it won’t have the intense color, flavor or richness of a proper store-bought Japanese black sesame paste, so it’s worth spending the time to track some down at either a local store or online. 

Prep time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes • Cook time: 15 minutes: Serving size: 4 – 6 


For the pudding:

    • 6 gelatin sheets or 4 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (*see note below) 
    • 4 cups  unsweetened soy milk
    • 1 cup black sesame paste
    • 2⁄3 cup condensed coconut milk 


Sesame seeds, mint leaves, chopped nuts, shredded coconut and/or whipped cream (optional) 

Instructions for making Kuro Goma Purin

    1. If using gelatin sheets, place them in ice water. If using powdered gelatin, place in a bowl with a bit of soy milk. Allow gelatin to bloom for 5 to 7 minutes. 
    2. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining soy milk, sesame paste, sugar and condensed coconut milk over medium-low heat. 
    3. Add the gelatin sheets or gelatin mixture and continue to heat for 1 minute or until the gelatin has dissolved, ensuring that the flame stays low so as not to denature the thickening agent in the gelatin. 
    4. Set a fine mesh strainer over a heat-safe container. Remove the pan from heat and pour its contents through the strainer. 
    5. In a bowl large enough to fit the container, add enough ice water to reach halfway up the sides of the heat-safe container. Place the container in the ice water bowl, and then whisk the mixture until it has thickened into a gel. 
    6. Divide the mixture into individual ramekins and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to set. 
    7. Garnish with sesame seeds, chopped nuts, mint leaves, shredded coconut or whipped cream to serve. 

* NOTE: This recipe can be made vegan by swapping out the gelatin for agar-agar (a thickening agent derived from algae), but take care to adjust the proportions. Depending on the type of agar-agar you use, it won’t necessarily be a 1:1 substitute. Agar-agar requires heat to dissolve and it sets very quickly at room temperature — add it to the warm mixture in step 3, and then skip steps 4 and 5, pouring directly into the ramekins. 

Excerpted from Made Here: Recipes & Reflections from NYC’s Asian Communities. The result of countless hours of work by dozens of volunteer photographers, writers and illustrators, recipe testers, translators and many more, Made Here is a cookbook and a concept driven by New York’s community. Produced by the nonprofit initiative Send Chinatown Love, the cookbook features the stories of New York’s Asian-owned mom-and-pop restaurants and shops — many of which were hit early and particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top photo by Cindy Trinh

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