Kurogoma Aisukurimu (Black Sesame Ice Cream)

Posted by on July 17, 2010 in Blog, Ice Cream, Wagashi | Japanese Sweets | 41 comments

Kurogoma Ice Cream 1ab

Did you know that in Japanese, ice cream is known as “ice cream” or more accurately, “aisukurimu”? It’s ice cream pronounced with a Japanese accent, “eye-sue-coo-reem-mu”. Does this mean that black sesame ice cream in Japanese could potentially be, “boo-lack-oo say-sah-me eye-sue-coo-reem-mu”? At this point, I’m fairly certain my bilingual English-Japanese friends who are reading this are saying to themselves, “Judy, You are such a dork!” Heh. Heh.  Anyway, the proper Japanese translation of black sesame ice cream is kurogoma aisukurimu. Kuro means black and goma means sesame, hence kurogoma = black sesame.

Kurogoma is believed to have a host of health benefits which is why this ice cream was likely very popular in Japan for a while. (Yes, yet another Japanese fad.) It is loaded with minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus,copper, iron and calcium.

According to eHow.com, these minerals “help to support healthy bones, muscles, blood, and nervous system. Copper strengthens blood vessels, joints, and bones, and is helpful in relieving arthritis. Magnesium supports vascular and respiratory health. It also contains zinc and calcium, which also improve bone health.” Kurogoma is also used to promote healthy bowels and in Chinese medicine, it is used to promote healthy kidneys and liver. It also contains phytosterol which apparently helps to reduce cholesterol.

Kurogoma aisukurimu is healthful! Yay for ice cream!

Over a month ago, Bebe E and I were on one of our shopping excursions to Mitsuwa. When we have time, I like to walk up and down every single aisle, slowly looking at all the different products on the shelves. (Call me strange, but I find this very entertaining and Bebe E is just happy to be out and about.) One of the items I came across was a packet of ground kurogoma or surigoma. I immediately thought of Yuzen, a little Japanese restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles that my mom and I frequent. My mom is friends with the owner, so whenever we dine there he treats us to a delicious scoop of kurogoma aisukurimu, on the house. The first time I tried this, I thought it was strange because of the texture of the partially ground sesame seeds, but I loved the taste. It had a sweet, roasted, earthy flavor to it. It was unlike anything that I’d ever tasted before. So when I saw this packet of ground kurogoma, I was very excited because I knew exactly what I was going to make! Kurogoma aisukurimu!

On Monday, my BFF had the day-off from work so we planned a lunch date to catch-up. Even though we live right across the street from one another, we are often busy and weeks might go by before we get a chance to catch-up. Unlike our previous lunch date when I made somen, we decided to get take-out from Fish Grill, but I had a little surprise for dessert.  Yep, kurogoma aisukurimu!

I modified a simple vanilla ice cream recipe from the Cuisinart booklet that came with my ice cream maker and simply added the package of kurogoma. Since I made the ice cream right after we finished our lunch, the ice cream didn’t really have a chance to set in the freezer so it was soft, but it was still really good. The trial batch that we ate only had a small amount of kurogoma, but we decided that the whole pack of kurogoma would likely be perfect, and it was!

Kurogoma Aisukurimu

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons kurogoma (ground black sesame)

1) In a large bowl, mix whole milk (I used a combination of whole milk and skim milk) and sugar using a hand blender until the sugar is dissolved (about 2 -3 minutes).

I cut the amount of sugar significantly from the original recipe. Homemade ice cream is great because you get to control the amount of sugar and all the ingredients are fresh!

Add heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir for another minute. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and let it whirl for about 25 minutes.

2) In the last few minutes, add ground kurogoma until incorporated. The ice cream will be soft. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for two hours until firm. Scoop and enjoy!

Kurogoma Ice Cream 1ab

My BFF and I thought this kurogoma aisukurimu was soooooo good. Perhaps kurogoma aisukurimu is a Japanese-thang? Or is it an acquired taste? Bebe Dada didn’t care for kurogoma aisukurimu (he’s more of a sherbert, mint chip or pistachio ice cream kind-of guy). Big Onechan didn’t care for it either (she’s more of a rocky road, vanilla, cookies and cream type-of-gal), and both of them had to rinse their mouths out with water in order to rid themselves of  the sesame flavor and the little pieces of sesame! LOL. Yes, I was slightly offended, but in all seriousness I was a bit happy and I’ll share with you why.

I am only too happy that I get all of the kurogoma aisukurimu to myself. In our house, if you’re not quick, the ice cream is gone in a flash. Unfortunately, I’m usually the slow poke that only gets to enjoy one or two scoops from a gallon of ice cream before I go back looking for more, only to find that it’s all gone! Not this time, baby! That kurogoma aisukurimu will sit in our freezer waiting for me, and me alone. Mwwaaaa-haaa-haa-ha-haaaaa!

Happy Summer!

Judy | bebe mama


Kurogoma Aisukurimu (Black Sesame Ice Cream)
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons
  • kurogoma (ground black sesame)
  1. In a large bowl, mix whole milk (I used a combination of whole milk and skim milk) and sugar using a hand blender until the sugar is dissolved (about 2 -3 minutes). I cut the amount of sugar significantly from the original recipe.
  2. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract and stir for another minute. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and let it whirl for about 25 minutes.
  3. In the last few minutes, add ground kurogoma until incorporated. The ice cream will be soft. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for two hours until firm. Scoop and enjoy!
Vanilla ice cream recipe adapted from Cuisinart.


  1. avatar

    I would love to have two scoops of that kurogoma aisukurimu please. Sounds fantastic!

  2. avatar

    Thank you, Biren! I would be more than happy to share with you. :)

  3. avatar

    Oh yay! What a great recipe to share – thank you so much! I love Japanese black sesame pudding, so I am sure I will love making this, which seems like it will be similar only… well.. colder ;)!

    • avatar

      Ooh, that sounds like something I’ll need to try – kurogoma pudding!

  4. avatar

    WOW! Homemade ice cream, huh? Impressive!! What do some of us that don’t have a ice cream maker do to make this? Hmm…..
    Anyway, never had this, but would like to try it one of these days. I don’t think I’ll make it myself, but I’ll ask my mom if she can pick some up at Nijiya or something. Maybe they have it at Don Quijote….


    • avatar

      I considered taking a huge short-cut, but I didn’t. It’s perfect if you don’t have an ice cream maker. Buy Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream and the kurogoma (ground powder). Let the ice cream soften a bit and then combine the vanilla ice cream and kurogoma in a bowl and mix. Refreeze if necessary to harden, then serve! Yay – Instant kurogoma ice cream! :)

  5. avatar

    I love sesame flavor. A total asian thing. Looks delicious!

  6. avatar

    I do like sesame flavors I can only imagine how this must taste in an ice cream – would luv to try it!

    • avatar

      Ooh, if you like sesame, you’re bound to like it. :)

  7. avatar

    I was going to say, “what?! no, it’s not a Japanese thing – I love it!!” oh wait. right, i’m japanese – i guess i’m not a good example… this is great!! i’ve been wanting to make this but for my lazy self!

    • avatar

      Hi Jennifer, You’re so funny. :) Thanks for visiting!

  8. avatar

    I’ve never had this but my mom used to make me kurogoma milk for me! I don’t have an ice cream maker and, not planning to get one since that will be another excuse for me to eat ice cream….but maybe when you have a gallon lying around…we will come invite ourselves over for a taste!

    • avatar

      Oh, kurogoma milk sounds really interesting and healthy too. Sounds like something your mom would make for you to drink for an ailment. Love your mom’s home remedies. :) Let me know when you want some and I will make some just for you. The batch I made is almost gone – maybe only 2 scoops left. :P

  9. avatar

    Hi Judy,
    I love this black sesame Aisukurimu (:D I love the sound of “Aisukurimu”), black sesame always being one of my favorite ingredients for cooking and I also read about a lot of news or article about how healthy the black sesame is.

    Many thanks for sharing this awesome post and I’m going to try to make this black sesame ice cream at home. hehe….

    • avatar

      Hi Liv, That’s so funny because I kept saying “aisukurimu” to myself when I was writing this post.It’s kinda fun the way it rolls off your tongue and for some reason it’s just a silly word! :)

  10. avatar

    Sounds and looks yummy. I’ve tried green tea and red bean Japanese “aisukurimu” and love them. I would love to try this flavor too. Cute post :)

    • avatar

      Thanks, Nancy! I love green tea and red bean ice cream too. I grew up eating those for dessert at Japanese restaurants.

  11. avatar

    it looks like Oreo Cookies and Cream ice cream!

    • avatar

      Theresa, that’s funny you mention that because I almost wrote in my post that it looked like my other favorite flavor – Oreo cookies & cream! I think if my family found chunks of Oreo instead of seeds in the bite they tasted, they likely wouldn’t have spit it out. :P Oh well.

  12. avatar

    That looks so good. I need to use up some black sesame seeds. This will be great.

  13. avatar

    I’ve heard of black sesame ice cream and have always wondered what it tasted like. If I ever get the chance to make some ice cream of my own, this will be one of the first :D

    • avatar

      It’s definitely different, but if you like the flavor of sesame and don’t mind a gritty texture, you’re bound to like it. :)

  14. avatar

    Judy, you’re so funny!

    Now when I see my Japanese friends, I’ll have to test their knowledge on the Japanese translation of ice cream to see if they know it. I’ll have to look for the ground black sesame seeds the next time I visit the Asian grocery store. I’m like you–I sometimes spend so much time gawking at the shelves since there’s so much variety!

    • avatar

      So glad I’m not the only one that enjoys the grocery aisles! :)

  15. avatar

    Yum — I don’t think I’ve had this before, but I know I would love it. I love other Japanese treats with black sesames and I love ice cream, so I’m sure it would be a great match.

    My cuisinart inner bowl isn’t freezing properly in the freezer recently so my ice creams have been meh… I need to get a new one and try this recipe out!

    • avatar

      You know, I thought my ice cream bowl wasn’t freezing properly either, but I turned up our freezer to the max cold level and it seems to be working now. Everything in our freezer is probably incurring freezer burn at a faster rate, but the bowl is frozen. LOL.

  16. avatar

    MMM! I want black sesame ice cream!
    And! My mom says ice cream the same way so it must be the same for Korean as it is for Japanese :P

    • avatar

      That’s good to know if I ever want to order ice cream at a Korean restaurant! ;)

  17. avatar

    I have to say, I’ve don’t think I’ve ever had anything like this before. Adding it to my “must try” list now though :) Thanks for sharing!

    • avatar

      My pleasure! I hope you’ll enjoy it. :)

  18. avatar

    I would really like to try this recipe. Sounds very Asian and interesting!

  19. avatar

    I love the flavor of sesame and am very intrigued by your ice cream! My daughter is taking Japanese at UC Santa Cruz this fall – I’m forwarding your site to her so she can learn about Japanese food besides sushi :)

    • avatar

      Oh how fun! I took Japanese in college too, but I was a bit of a cheater because I already knew the language. I still learned quite a bit though and I had a great time in the process.

  20. avatar

    Oh boy that is funny! Ice cream tends to go quick at my house as well! And I’m the one that always loses out! In any case, it looks out of this world delicious – I KNOW that I would enjoy this ice cream, particularly because of all its sesame bits. I wonder if it tastes anything like sesame candy?

    • avatar

      Isn’t it awful being the slow-poke-ice-cream-eater!!!

      Hmm, I think this kurogoma aisukurimu tastes sweeter because of the vanilla ice cream, and less nutty than sesame candy. I definitely prefer sesame ice cream over sesame candy. :)

  21. avatar

    I love this, trying to imagine the textures:) And your post is, as I said in my last comment on the more recent post…Making me smile! So funny and bright:)
    Have a wonderful night…

  22. avatar

    Judy–Can I make my own kurogama by grinding black sesame seeds? Seems like fresh ground would be a plus unless the kurogama is made using a particular method that results in something different than fresh ground black sesame seeds. What do you think?

    • avatar

      Hi Ann, Yes, you can certainly make your own ground black sesame. Whenever I don’t have the pre-ground sesame in my pantry (for conveniences’ sake), I have ground my own whole sesame seeds.