Mango sticky rice

Mango sticky rice is that quintessentially Thai dessert that if you know what all the fuss is about, you’ll want to let others in on too 😉

This selection of ingredients, far from intuitive to the western palate, is the perfect illustration of how a delicate balance of flavours and textures takes food from the sum of its individual parts to a symphony of its combination.

Here’s my take on mango sticky rice – if you want it at its best, serve it with the rice still warm, and the mango freshly chilled…

Flavour: Sweet, fragrant, and slightly salty

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, firm, ripe mango, or 2 smaller ones – cut these into cubes or slices – whatever way you think will look pretty when plated up
  • 1 cup Thai sticky rice
  • 400ml coconut cream – you can use the canned stuff, your own home-made, or make up a batch from powdered coconut – all these work well (I use the powdered stuff, because it keeps well and you can make up the exact quantity and consistency you want)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar – I prefer to use coconut palm sugar, as this adds a great flavour without darkening the colour of the rice too much (alternatively, you could use rapadura if you don’t mind the rice looking brownish, or white sugar if you want perfect white rice and aren’t so fussed about flavour and processing)
  • half teaspoon salt

Optional extras:

  • Crushed, toasted peanuts to sprinkle over the top before serving
    • See here for how to prepare crushed, toasted peanuts for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pandan paste added to rice while steaming – will turn the rice green and add a distinctive pandan flavour to round out this dessert
  • 1 teaspoon pandan paste added to coconut cream reserved for garnishing – will turn coconut cream green, and add a distinctive pandan flavour to round out this dessert

Directions:

  1. First prepare by steaming your sticky rice (see here for how to prepare sticky rice) – this can be done up to a day in advance, and mango sticky rice is a great way to use up – and dress up – leftover sticky rice
  2. Heat coconut cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan until the sugar and salt are well dissolved
  3. Pour half the coconut cream mixture into a bowl, and leave the rest on a high heat to reduce down to a thick, pourable cream
  4. While the remainder of the sauce is reducing down, add the steamed sticky rice to the coconut cream mixture in your bowl – massage the cream through the sticky rice until it is all soaked up
  5. Divide the coconut sticky rice into 4 portions, and plate up
    • You could just spoon the rice onto plates without doing anything to dress it up, but it’s simple enough to mould it into an elegant shape by portioning it into small bowls or cups before turning out onto the plates
  6. Arrange the mango on each plate in a way that you think offsets the sticky rice nicely
  7. Either pour the thickened coconut cream sauce over the sticky rice on each plate, or serve it in a small jug for your guests to serve themselves
  8. If using, garnish the sticky rice with toasted crushed peanuts

Best served as a finishing touch to a spicy Thai meal full of complex flavours 😀

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