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Horizontal image of two clear glass mugs filled with Horchata de Ajonjolí (Sesame Seed Milk) with two black and white polka dot straws in them. A blue bowl of toasted sesame seeds on the right.
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Sesame Seed Milk (Horchata de Ajonjolí)

Begin soaking the toasted sesame seeds 3 hours before, but I recommend soaking for at least 12 hours (or overnight).
Served chilled.
Course Drinks
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword milk, sesame seeds
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
soaking 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 256kcal

Equipment

  • immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) raw hulled sesame seeds
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) water
  • 1 14-ounce (396 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract optional

Instructions

Toast the Sesame Seeds

  • Pour the seeds into a wide, shallow skillet that's at least 10-inches wide.
    Heat the pan over medium-low heat while using a flat wooden spoon to shift the seeds around in the pan. 
  • Continue gently heating and toasting the sesame seeds, shifting them frequently in the pan and ensuring the seeds remain in an even layer.
    After 5 minutes, the seeds begin to take on a tawny color. You can stop toasting at this point or, for a more pronounced flavor continue toasting. 
  • After about 8-10 minutes, the seeds will emit a nutty scent and will be the color of caramel. 
    Remove the pan from the stove to allow the seeds time to cool slightly. 

Soak and Flavor the Toasted Seeds

  • Once the sesame seeds are toasted, add them, along with the cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves to 1-gallon pitcher.
    Pour water that's been warmed in the microwave to 110°F (or 43°C) over the seeds and spices in the pitcher.
    Stir the seeds in the water to make sure they're not clumped together. 
  • Cover the pitcher with a lid or a towel, and allow the seeds to soak and soften for no less than 3 hours, or overnight for the best results.  

Blend and Finish the Sesame Seed Milk

  • Use an immersion blender to puree the seeds and the spices into small bits after the seeds have soaked or for 2-3 minutes.  
    Pour the blended contents of the bowl into a fine-mesh sieve lined with a clean kitchen or tea towel.
  • Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to press the milk from the sesame seeds.
    Next, gather the corners of your towel and twist the towel to squeeze out as much of the remaining milk as you can.
    Discard what remains in the towel. 
  • Pour the strained milk into a bowl with a can of sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla extract 
    Use the immersion blender to combine the two milks completely. This will only take 1 minute. 
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely chilled. Serve this sesame seed milk as you would regular milk.
    Sesame Seed Milk naturally separates. Be sure to give it a shake or a vigorous stir before serving.

Notes

Tips:

  • Be sure to use hulled raw sesame seeds. Unhulled seeds will make your sesame seed milk taste bitter.
  • If you're using pre-toasted sesame seeds for this recipe, be sure to warm them for 5-8 minutes in a 300°F (149°C).
  • Don't store the toasted sesame seeds while they are warm, or steam will develop in the container. 
  • Add this horchata de ajonjolí to your morning coffee, tea, or smoothies. 
  • Freeze the sesame seed milk into ice cubes to add to your iced coffee.

Swaps and Substitutions:

  • Use 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves in place of the whole spices
  • To make vegan sesame milk, replace the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut or soy milk. 
  • Omit the condensed milk altogether and sweeten the sesame seed milk with plain sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave to taste. The final result won't be as creamy but will still taste great. 
  • If you don't have an immersion blenderpuree the sesame seeds and water in a standard blender. 

Storage and Freezing Instructions:

  • To Store Toasted Sesame Seeds:
    1. Allow the seeds to cool completely. 
    2. Transfer the seeds to an air-tight container.
    3. Store the seeds in a cool, dark area of the kitchen for up to 6 months.
  • Store the sesame seed milk in a covered container in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. 
  • To freeze horchata de ajonjolí: 
    1. Pour the sesame seed milk into ice cube trays or into a freezer bag with a very tight seal.
    2. Freeze for up to 6 months.
    3. Thaw it in the fridge (set inside a dish to catch any leaks) and stir it before serving. 

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 441mg | Iron: 7mg