Mango with Sticky Rice
It’s mango season here in Thailand, and the best way to enjoy them is to pair the sweet fruit with sweet and salty coconut-milk sticky rice. Khao Nieow Ma-muang is a very popular dessert with both Thais and foreign visitors, and the first sweet we’re adding to the site. Enjoy!
- Soak the sticky rice for at least an hour before steaming.
- Steam for 20 minutes on medium-high in a sticky rice steamer. If you don’t have a sticky rice steamer, you can try steaming in a bowl in a covered saucepan with an inch of water at the bottom of the pan. You could also try using a regular steamer, but cover the holes with cheese cloth or muslin cloth so that the rice doesn’t fall through.
- While steaming, prepare the sauce for the rice. Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk to a saucepan along with the 1 1/3 tablespoons sugar & 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir over low heat until dissolved. Set aside.
- Prepare the topping sauce as well. In another small saucepan, add the 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and stir over low heat until dissolved. Mix the tapioca starch with a little bit of water in a small bowl until a paste, then add as well. Mixing the starch beforehand will prevent any lumps from forming in the sauce. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.
- When the rice is finished, spread out in a shallow bowl and cover with 1/2 the thin sauce (the sauce you made first). Stir well and keep adding more until you reach saturation point. Depending on the rice used, it should be around 75% of the sauce. You may need to use it all. You don’t want very wet rice, it should be somewhat dry and sticky. Don’t add until it’s submerged, but keep in mind that the rice will absorb some of the liquid. I usually add until just before I see puddles of coconut milk. Stir well and cover with a towel. Let the rice absorb the coconut milk for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice mango as shown and arrange on a plate. Spoon an equal amount of sticky rice next to it, and top with a few spoons of the thicker sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or fried salty mung beans.
The best mango to eat with this dish is called 'Naam Dok Maai' (flower nectar mango), which is available in South East Asia. In many Asian groceries in the West you can find a yellow-skinned mango which is skinny and pointy. This works a lot better than the round, red/orange mangoes from Mexico & the Caribbean, which are not anywhere near as yummy as the Asian mangoes.
Make sure you use sticky rice and not regular Thai rice in this dish. Sticky rice is sometimes called glutinous rice. The grains are whiter and fatter than regular rice.
Do not refrigerate the sweet sticky rice â€” it turns into a rock-hard mess which tastes awful. If you have to make it ahead of time, just leave it out on the counter. It'll last for a few hours no problem.
Chao Koh brand coconut milk is the best to use in this dish. If you can find it in a paper carton, it's better than a can. If you cannot find Chao Koh, do not, by any means use a brand of coconut milk that does not originate from Thailand. The local supermarket variety will ruin this dish!
I really like a slightly cold mango with slightly warm rice. It compliments the sweet & salty of the dish. Mmmm!