Friday, May 7, 2010

Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

 
As a small child, I decided that I liked rice.  I liked it a lot. I liked it steamed with soy sauce at the Chinese restaurant, or at home from an Uncle Ben boxed mix, and my favorite was in Mom's rice pudding.

Then one day, a guy I was seeing (back in college) took me on a date to a Thai restaurant.  It was very cozy and we had no idea what we were getting.  We pretty much pointed at things onthe menu and the waiter brought out amazing, delicious foods. One of those amazing things was dessert, sweetened rice with mango covered in coconut milk sauce. Khao Nieow Ma Muang. I was in love. With the food. Not the guy. (Sorry!)

I tried making it at home using regular rice, trying to adapt my mom's rice pudding recipe with medium grain rice. (I had not realized back then that glutinous rice existed  I was only 19 and fairly naive). Then I tried aborio rice, then sushi rice. At some point I became aware of glutinous rice. Regular supermarkets did not carry it. I had to be brave and go into the seedy part of Sparks to find an Asian market. Using the right variety of rice is key to making this dish. There are NO substitutions.

Now, after years of devouring this dish at my favorite Thai restaurant, I decided to make it myself. (That way I have a whole pot-full if I want it!) If you can make rice, you can make this.

As a side note, you don't have to rely on mangoes as your accompanying fruit. Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries pair nicely with this.

Ingredients
1 cup glutinous rice
2 cups water
1 15 oz. can coconut milk, divided (see below)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 ripe mangoes


Method
1. Rinse the rice two times and drain well. Put into a 2-qt. covered pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the water and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat so it simmers for 20 minutes.


2. After time is up, turn off heat and let the rice stand, covered, another 5 minutes while you prepare the coconut milk.

3. To divide the coconut milk, open the can and spoon out the thickest milk to measure about 2/3 cup. Reserve this for the toppping. Using the remaining thin milk for the next step. It should measure about 1 cup.

4. Combine the 1 cup of thinner coconut milk with the sugar and a dash of salt. Add this to the cooked rice in the sauce pan. Mix well, but try not to mash up the rice grains. Replace cover and let rest another 5-15 minutes.


5. Take the 2/3 cup thick coconut milk and add the 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix.

6. Slice the mango off the pit. Remove the peel and slice into wedges or dice.

7. To serve, I spoon the rice into a small bowl, then tip it onto the dessert plate. Arrange mango slices and top with a few spoonfuls of thick coconut milk.

8. Serves 4 - 6.