Black Sesame Cereal
Greenmax, $6.79/16 servings
With my demanding sweet tooth, instant desserts always seem like such a good idea. Embarrassingly often I come home from the store with boxes or sachets or envelopes full of magical powder that requires only water to transform into jelly, pudding, gruel, or some species of thick, sweet beverage for which there is no word in English.
Unfortunately, my sweet tooth is almost as discerning as it is demanding, and once I've welcomed them into my home, most of these over-sweet, artificially-flavored, and additive-laden treats languish in the cupboard until the packages are as dusty as their contents.
The one big exception to this rule is Black Sesame Cereal from Greenmax, a Taiwanese company that has been making seed- and grain-based convenience foods since the 1960s under the banner "Make Healthy & Beautiful Wish". Since Greenmax shuns colorings, artificial flavors, preservatives, and non-dairy creamer their sesame cereal looks like sun-bleached asphalt but tastes like the real, comforting, and delicious things from which it is made.
Black sesame cereal contains just eight ingredients: sesame, black beans, brown rice, Job's tears (barley), wheat germ, medlar seed, licorice root, and brown sugar. Amongst my entire collection of just-add-water treats, this is the only instance in which sugar comes anything but first on the list of ingredients.
A little hot liquid renders each packet into a creamy and respectable breakfast with 143 calories, 2.6g of protein, and 4.7g of fiber, plus 11 vitamins and minerals including calcium and iron. Mixing it with coffee instead of water intensifies the nutty, roasty flavor--and adds a little kick.