Almost nothing beats a sweet and creamy mango when it is at peak ripeness. Nothing except the pairing of mango and sticky rice. The thing that really makes the Thai combination delicious is that the rice is lightly sweetened and flavored with coconut milk. Combined with the starchiness of the rice, the coconut milk gives the dessert a very rich texture. It blends well with the creamy mango, while setting off the brightness of the fruit.
All kinds of Thai restaurants have this dish on the menu, not only because it’s traditional, but because it is very simple; the dish has only a few components. It’s rare that I find a restaurant that serves a version I actually like, even when mangoes are in season. Armed with some ripe, yellow mangoes, I decided to cook up a quick version of the dish at home so I could take full advantage of my fruit.
My version of this dish is made almost like rice pudding, with coconut milk and a small amount of sugar cooked into pre-cooked sticky rice. The rice can be steamed or boiled (steamed might be more traditional, but I generally opt for the latter method), whichever you prefer. Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil, then let it stand until the coconut milk has been completely absorbed. Cool it down, slice some mangoes and you’re ready to eat.
I think that the flavors and textures are best when everything is at room temperature. If you’re not going to eat the whole batch at once, the leftovers of both rice and mangoes can be refrigerated. Pour a little extra coconut milk over the rice before refrigerating to keep things moist, as rice tends to dry out a bit in the fridge.
Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
2/3 cup coconut milk (light or regular)
1/4 cup sugar
small pinch salt
2 cups cooked rice (sticky/sushi/arborio)
2 ripe mangos, sliced
extra coconut milk for serving
A starchy rice – sushi rice, arborio rice, glutenous rice – that has a small, puffy grain is best for this recipe, but it will work with other types of white rice, too. It just won’t be quite as sticky. You can use leftover steamed or boiled rice, but cooking a fresh batch first will give you the best result. Add extra coconut milk to further soften your rice if you are using leftovers that have been refrigerated.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Stir in cooked rice and cook until the liquid just comes to a simmer. Turn off heat and cover the saucepan. Let rice sit and cool until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
Cool rice down to room temperature with fresh, sliced mangoes. Drizzle rice with extra coconut milk for serving, if desired.