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.

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

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.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not everything ends up here

This is going to be short and brutally honest.

Not everything I make turns out well. Sometimes it takes me many, many, attempts to get it just right.

Last night I tried to make lumpia.  These are Filipino spring rolls filled with mostly pork and few vegetables.  I used a recipe I got from a graduate student who makes them all the time for pot-lucks.

They were not the same.  I don't know what was wrong. Seriously, I even bought everything from the special market on Oddie to make sure I got authentic ingredients.

No, I didn't even bother to take pictures, so there won't even be pictures of how they looked.  (They looked normal but didn't taste right.)

Brady said apparently I didn't have my Filipino mojo going on.

OK, maybe sort of.  But I did take a few extra lumpia wrappers and made some awesome banana rolls.  I have made these before and maybe eventually will post how to make them.  Turns out, I have intuitively made something like a Turon, simply because I like my bananas wrapped up and fried.

Dinner wasn't a complete loss, but I will be going back to making average Chinese-like egg rolls for now. I think I can handle my Chinese seasoning better.

The other night I made Pad Thai.  Tasty, but too many noodles and not enough sauce.  Every time I make it, it turns out different so no recipe coming until I get that straightened out.

Another fine example of something not ending up here, I tried to make some "easy" Tiramisu.  It was not right either.  Too runny, too bitter, not very appetizing.  I have an idea to recreate it using no coffee at all.  The mascarpone cheese in the fridge has been calling to me. 

But, as a teaser, I will be posting my recipe for Thai-style coconut sticky rice very soon.