Matcha Green Tea Agar Agar with Sweet Black Sesame Sauce

Matcha Green Tea Agar Agar with Sweet Black Sesame Sauce Recipe

When I think of Asian sweets, the flavor that comes to mind after mango, litchi and durian  is matcha green tea. I love pairing matcha with black sesame; I think the flavors go perfectly together.

Lulu and the girls made a beautiful rau câu birthday cake for my birthday several weeks ago, based on a recipe I posted. Rau câu means agar agar in Vietnamese.

I made a matcha agar agar jello cake paired with black sesame sauce and garnished it with fresh diced mangoes for color. The dessert tastes like a sweeten matcha green tea with a soft jelly texture.


Yields: 10 servings

2 (0.88-ounce) packages agar agar powder
3 cups coconut milk
3 cups half and half
2-1/3 cups superfine sugar, + 4 tablespoons for the syrup
7-1/3 cups cold water
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
2 tablespoons black sesame powder
2 teaspoons potato starch
1 pinch wasabi powder (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh mango, diced


For the sweet black sesame sauce, whisk the black sesame powder, potato starch, wasabi powder (if used), salt and ground ginger in 1/2 cup of water. Make simple syrup by heating 1/2 cup of water with 4 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan. When boiling, whisk in the black sesame powder mixture. Bring back to a full boil, then lower to a simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add the agave nectar and light corn syrup. Let cool completely. Set aside until you're ready to serve.

In a bowl, whisk the matcha green tea powder in a cup of half and half.

Dissolve the agar agar in water. Pour the agar agar liquid into a sauce pan. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower to medium. Keep stirring for an even, smooth texture.

In a different pan, heat the coconut milk and remaining half and half, then combine with the agar agar liquid. Add sugar, then lower the heat. Add the matcha and condensed milk. Move immediately to the next step; otherwise the mixture might set in the pan.

Brush an (at least 1-inch high) baking sheet with cold water. Pour the matcha agar agar mixture into the baking sheet. Let the jello cake sit until it's completely cool.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Unmold the matcha agar agar onto a cutting board.

Create 10 disks, using a 1-1/2-inch diameter circle cutter. Fill about 2 tablespoons of black sesame sauce onto each dessert plate. Place a matcha agar disk on the sauce. Garnish with some fresh mango.

Serve with Vietnamese coffee.

Bon appétit!


I use Longevity Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, the one with the picture of a white bearded old man. You can easily find it in Asian stores.

condensed milk photo

Superfine sugar is very convenient for desserts. It's also called caster sugar or baker's sugar. It dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar. I usually use it for liquids.

Agar agar powder is a good gelatin substitute for vegans and vegetarians. It is derived from seaweedd and is cooked the same way you would gelatin powder. It is widely used in Asia.I also use it to make fruit mousses such as my egg-free banana mousse or chestnut mousse. I buy the Thai Telephone Brand, it's sold in 25-gram packages. (FIY 0.88 oz = 25 g)

Black sesame is the perfect ingredient to pair with matcha green tea. It has a nice, nutty flavor.  It can be blended into ice cream, pudding, cake and has a variety of other uses. You can find it in most Asian stores.

Matcha is Japanese green tea powder. I buy mine at Teavana in the Stanford Shopping Center, in Palo Alto, California.  You can also find it online. It's quite pricey and has a very delicate flavor. As soon as your matcha tea box is unsealed, store it in the refrigerator or in the freezer. To check for quality, matcha should have a beautiful jade green color. You can use it often in baking like macarons, cake, cookies or custards or you can turn many pastries into a nice green color. Be creative on St. Patrick's day and Halloween!

Agave nectar photo

Agave nectar, sometimes called agave syrup, is a natural sweetener. In France, it's called Agave honey. Unlike honey, agave nectar has a long shelf life and does not crystallize over time. Agave nectar is made from the purified sap of cactus-like desert plants. It's very popular in Mexico. It is not heated during production and is considered raw, which make it very healthy, like raw honey. Unlike raw honey though, agave nectar is easy to spread and drizzle because of its consistency.

I use potato starch as a thickening agent. If you don't have any, you can substitute with corn starch or tapioca starch.

I added a little half and half for more bold flavors. If you choose not to use half and half, just add double the amount of coconut milk.

I often use different sized circle cutters. I shaped my smoked salmon on wonton puffs with them. You can find circle cutters in any restaurant supply store or kitchen store like Smart and Final or Cook's Juntion at 261 Main St. Los Altos CA 94022. As Anthony Bourdain would say, your food will look so much more elegant using these little tools (read Kitchen Confidential).

I use the AROY-D coconut milk brand. It has no preservatives and it is very convenient; they sell it in 8.5 oz little packages (which equals about 1 cup).  

The end product should have a slightly firmer consistency than panna cotta.

matcha green tea agar agar recipe

sweet black sesame sauce recipe

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 31, 2009.


[-] Delicious - Guest-pigpigscorner
wonderful presentation and sounds so delicious! Love matcha and sesame combo.

pigpigscorner Website Link
[ Posted at 1:20 AM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] Foodie with Little Thyme! - Guest-cassie
Beautiful and very interesting. I've not seen this before. I would love to try it

cassie Website Link
[ Posted at 4:42 AM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] you're an expert! - Guest-ravenouscouple
When it comes to agar, you're the best! This sounds like a great combination of flavors.

ravenouscouple Website Link
[ Posted at 8:32 AM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
Yummy! I love matcha tea and I always get matcha tea ice cream when we go out for sushi. This looks soo delicious. I love the unusual flavor combinations here.

Eralda Website Link
[ Posted at 10:16 AM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
What a beautiful looking dessert. I love green tea and black sesame together also. Interesting how you've included a tiny pinch of wasabi powder! :)

Y Website Link
[ Posted at 2:23 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] Taste With The Eyes - Guest-LoriLynn
I bet the texture was lovely. The color is fabulous.

Lori Lynn Website Link
[ Posted at 2:44 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] Julia @ Mélanger - Guest-JuliaMlanger
Jackie, just lovely. I wish I had some of this in front of me right now. I'm excited about trying those matcha tea and black sesame macarons. Will be lovely!

Julia @ Mélanger Website Link
[ Posted at 3:38 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
Yum! That sounds wonderful and I like the idea of moussey-jelly like green tea :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella Website Link
[ Posted at 4:13 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
I keep meaning to look around for matcha! Love your combo with sesame, it sounds delicious!

Kerstin Website Link
[ Posted at 5:40 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
i know matcha is natural, but that color is out of this world

justcooknyc Website Link
[ Posted at 6:03 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
I love matcha especially in white chocolate. I do think that condense milk gives the same taste balance to matcha as white chocolate does. this looks wonderful!

veron Website Link
[ Posted at 7:11 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
Looks gorgeous!

Ginny Website Link
[ Posted at 9:06 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
What an excellent & apart dessert!! It is like a panna cotta but much more apart & so creative of you!!
Looks fenomenal!!!

Sophie Website Link
[ Posted at 3:45 AM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
[-] good stuff - Guest-doggybloggy
green tea and black sesame are great flavors by themselves I can only imagine how good they are together! Agar agar is my good friend....

doggybloggy Website Link
[ Posted at 9:46 AM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
wow really awesome presentation!!!

aruna Website Link
[ Posted at 10:47 AM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
I love agar for desserts! Am using it in my coconut chai panna cotta for chef final next week!

Cook 4 Seasonsd Website Link
[ Posted at 4:25 PM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
What a beautiful dessert! The sweet black sesame sauce sounds incredible! I've used agar agar for my molecular gastronomy experiments but not yet as a gelatin and I have never cooked with Matcha. I'm looking forward to trying this sometime soon!

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Website Link
[ Posted at 7:34 PM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
Mmmm that looks wonderful. When I was a kid I used to sneak cans of sweetened condensed milk out of our pantry and eat it straight out of the can.

Marc @ NoRecipes Website Link
[ Posted at 11:07 PM on 8/2/09 | Reply ]
I love that brand of condensed milk and use it all the time! Your matcha dessert looks delicious!

cakebrain Website Link
[ Posted at 12:31 AM on 8/3/09 | Reply ]
That looks so good! I really like working with matcha!

Kevin Website Link
[ Posted at 5:33 AM on 8/3/09 | Reply ]
Wow! I definitely need to get some more food molds - this looks absolutely stunning! And I LOVE the dish, I want to try it!

Teanna Website Link
[ Posted at 6:31 AM on 8/3/09 | Reply ]
[-] Cook's Junction is no more! - Guest-Karen910
Unfortunately, Cook's Junction is Los Altos is now closed! I got a good bunch of stuff from them before they went out of business, though...should have looked for cookie cutters!

Karen Website Link
[ Posted at 6:51 PM on 8/3/09 | Reply ]
What a great blend of flavours! Would definitely like to try this :)

anncoo Website Link
[ Posted at 5:55 PM on 9/19/09 | Reply ]
Love this recipe and your blog! I came for the pandan, but I'm staying...

manju Website Link
[ Posted at 3:27 AM on 1/23/11 | Reply ]
can you substitute honey or sweetener with the agave ectar?
[ Posted at 10:51 AM on 4/10/12 | Reply ]
[-] sweetener - Jackie
Of course granulated sugar, honey would work but again, you might want to adjust the amount of water so the texture isn't too soft/firm. :) hope this helps!
[ Posted at 10:50 PM on 4/10/12 | Reply ]

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