I’ll be the first to admit that I was really late to the benefits of homemade, overnight oats.
This is because prior to having my son, I was at different life stages that didn’t require so much thought about quick homemade breakfast options. For the 4 years prior to his birth, it felt like I had all the time in the world to cook myself gourmet breakfasts.
Fast forward to 2020, I am now a full-time mom of a mobile 1-year-old toddler during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no help during the work week. Suddenly, I am not eating anything until baby goes down for a nap, if I don’t plan this right. It became very important to get breakfast sorted the night before, and overnight oats became the answer to my prayers.
Still, many of the overnight oats presentation out there seemed a little unexciting to me. I would make a chocolate one with nut butter, and get bored after eating one serving. Or a cinnamon-raisin one with berries on top, and would feel like I ate healthy, but didn’t delight the foodie in me. Scouring hundreds of eye-candy overnight oat pictures on Instagram only made matters worse. The pictures all looked colorful, fancy, and perfectly-styled, but very few ideas spoke to me.
So I began experimenting on my own, and came up with jars of overnight oats that not only delighted me, but represented my Nanyang-Chinese identity, and Nusantara heritage.
This black sesame overnight oats is one such discovery. It marries the flavor of the traditional Chinese black sesame soup called tong sui, with the Swiss müesli technique of soaking oats overnight. While the idea of overnight oats may be popularized by American food bloggers, I am also drawing the inspiration from the frequent exposure to the hotel buffet Bircher müesli from my youth, and later through my own travels, and work in the hospitality industry.
A note about the ingredients
I have been thoughtful to use ingredients that go well in the Chinese context. Apricots, soy milk, pumpkin seeds, and black sesame are all very Chinese. They go very well together with the neutral flavors of oats, cow’s milk, and chia seeds.
Tip: Get good quality black sesame seed powder, from a reputable brand like Hsin Tung Yang if you can. Taiwanese ingredients tend to be higher quality. The flavor and aroma of the black sesame is key to this recipe, which is why quality matters.
I am happiest, and most authentic when I get to express my cross-cultural roots, influences, and propensities freely. Multiculturalism is my true essence, and this recipe is a little Chinese, a little Swiss, a little American, kind of International, and very me.
Enjoy it and let me know how you like it!
Black Sesame Overnight Oats 黑芝麻过夜燕麦
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1-2 tbsps black sesame powder
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds roasted and unsalted
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1-2 dried apricots cut into small pieces
- 1 cup milk cow's milk, almond, or soy
- A dash soy creamer Trader Joe's
- Add all the ingredients into a mason or small jar and close the lid.
- Shake all the contents thoroughly, and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, shake the jar again to mix up all the black sesame sediments.
- Open the jar lid, and eat with a spoon.