If you have never tried Mango Sticky Rice Dessert, you are missing out. This delicious dessert is enjoyed not only in Thailand but also in its neighboring countries. The combination of sweet mangoes and coconut infused sticky rice is absolutely marvelous. You have to taste it to fully appreciate it.
While the mango is the star of this dessert, the sticky rice is just as important. Sticky rice is made from glutinous or sweet rice, a kind of rice grown in Southeast Asia. It has opaque grains, very low amylose content, and is especially sticky when cooked, hence its name. Unlike regular rice, glutinous rice has an almost creamy texture very suited for making desserts. It is often cooked with coconut milk which gives it a lovely sheen.
To further enhance the flavor of the rice, I steamed it together with pandan (screwpine), another tropical plant heavily associated with Southeast Asian cooking. Pandan has long, narrow, blade-like leaves with an amazingly sweet fragrance. Pandan can be found in the frozen section of most Asian markets in the US.
Traditionally, a thick coconut cream is drizzled on the top of the dessert just before serving. In this version, I made a gula melaka (palm sugar) syrup instead. Gula Melaka is made from the sap of the coconut palm which is boiled down and poured into bamboo tubes to solidify. It has a slightly smoky flavor and makes absolutely the best syrup. Please use dark brown sugar if you cannot find palm sugar.
- 1 to 2 mangoes
- 1 cup (200g) glutinous rice
- 1 piece banana leaf to line steaming rack
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 pandan (screwpine) leaf, cut into 3 inch lengths
- 2 oz (55g) palm or dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup (180ml) coconut milk
- 1 tbsp sugar + ¼ salt
Wash and drain glutinous rice. Place in a bowl with enough water to cover. Soak for at least 4 hours.
Combine palm sugar and ¼ cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves and thicken. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat, remove, and set aside.
Combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a bare simmer. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Do not allow it to boil. Turn off heat, remove, and set aside.
Fill pot for steaming with about 2 inches of water. Cover and bring water to a boil.
Line steaming rack with banana leaf. If you do not have banana leaf, use a dish instead. Drain glutinous rice and place onto banana leaf in steaming rack. Mix in salt. Stick cut pandan leaf into the rice. Place rack onto pot with boiling water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes over medium heat.
In the meantime, peel and cut mango into slices. Place on 4 individual or 1 large serving dish. Set aside.
When sticky rice is cooked, transfer to a bowl. Pour prepared coconut milk onto rice. Stir to mix. Rice may appear to be a little wet. Allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes and all the coconut milk will be absorbed.
Place a portion of cooked sticky rice beside the mango. Drizzle a little palm syrup over the rice.
These days, mangoes are available year round. However, there are more varieties to choose from in the summer and it is the perfect time to try out this delectable Mango Sticky Rice Dessert. Do give it a try. You will not be disappointed.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!