We are entering into spring season here in Sweden and also Norway where I come from. The signs are Tulips and nature awakening again after snow and winter. In other parts of the world there are other signs and seasons. In many countries in Asia it is now Mango season. In countries like Thailand and Vietnam a special dessert is the sure sign of the spring and summer, “Mango sticky rice”. It is usually eaten in the peak Mango season, the months of April and May in Thailand. Although originating in Thailand, it is consumed throughout the Indochina region and the rest of Southeast Asia and South Asia, including Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh from march till june. The main ingredients needed are sticky rice (glutinous rice), canned or fresh coconut milk, salt, palm sugar and mangoes.
- 1 cup Thai sweet or sticky rice, available in Asian groceries
- 1 can coconut milk, unshaken
- 3 tablespoons raw or white sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (or tapioca flour, available in Asian groceries or in gluten-free section)
- 2 ripe mangos
- Toasted sesame seeds and mint, to garnish
- Covered saucepan
- Steamer basket
- Small saucepan
1. Gather your ingredients. The sticky rice is the most important thing here; you cannot use regular rice. Look for or ask for Sticky Rice in the store.
2. Soak 1 cup of dry sticky rice in water for about 1 hour. (Some recipes instruct you to soak it overnight, but 1 hour seems sufficient.)
3. Drain the rice and rinse it thoroughly. Then pour about 1 cup of water into a saucepan, and place the rice in a steamer insert inside the saucepan. Cover tightly and steam over low to medium heat for 20 minutes.
4. While the rice is steaming, make the first sauce. You will make two coconut sauces to go on the rice: One thin one to mix into the rice itself, and then a thicker sauce to spoon over top. Start by opening the can of coconut milk and spooning out the thick cream on top.
Place the thicker coconut cream in a small bowl. You should have approximately 1/2 cup, give or take a bit. (All measurements here are approximate, which is completely fine for this recipe.)
5. Pour the thinner, lighter coconut milk left in the can into a small saucepan. (It will be a little over 1 cup.) Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Do not let the sauce boil.
6. By now the rice is probably done. The grains should be tender and shiny. Spoon the rice out into a bowl (it will be clumpy).
7. Slowly pour the warm coconut milk over the rice in the bowl, stirring frequently. You want the milk to coat the rice but not leave puddles. Keep stirring, and stop pouring in coconut milk when it looks like the rice is saturated. You may not use all of the milk.
8. Set the rice aside to finish absorbing the coconut milk; after 15 minutes or so it should have soaked up any milk that is still liquid.
9. While the rice is standing, make the coconut topping sauce. Rinse out the coconut milk saucepan, and pour in the coconut cream that you took off the top of the can. Stir in 1 table spoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together a few teaspoons of water and the cornstarch.
10. Whisk this cornstarch slurry into the coconut cream and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens considerably. Set aside.
11. To cut up the mango, first cut off the bottom so it can stand upright.
12. Slice away the skin in thin strips, until the mango is completely peeled.
13. Cut off the flesh in slices, starting with the broad cheeks on each side, then the thinner strips that will come off either side.
14. To serve, place about 1/3 cup cooked sticky rice on each plate, and arrange mango slices around it. Drizzle with the coconut topping sauce, and sprinkle with a few toasted sesame seeds.