I thought it only suitable to dive into the subject of Thai desserts by sharing the recipe of the most famous, popular and loved of all: Mango w/sticky rice. In Thai it is called “Khao Niao Mamuang”. Khao Niao meaning sticky rice, and Mamuang being the word for mango.
The dessert is originally Thai, but today it is commonly eaten throughout Southeast Asia, in particular, Thailands neighboring countries Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Mango with sticky rice is made from steamed glutinous rice mixed with sweetened coconut milk, and yellow mung beans or sesame seeds sprinkled on top. It is paired with perfectly ripe yellow sweet mango and sometimes served with extra coconut cream to pour over the top. I think it works just fine without the cream, so I have left it optional in the recipe. But since the cream is not sweetened, if you decide to leave it out, make sure the sticky rice has a slight hint of saltiness. An overly sweet sticky rice will not serve as a good enough contrast to the sweet mango.
The combination of rice and mango may seem unusual. But I am quite sure, you will be happily surprised by how delicious it is!
As you learned from my post about mango, there are many kinds in the markets. But only a few are suitable to pair with the sweet sticky rice: Nam Dok Mai definitely tops the list and is the variety most often served with sticky rice. Ok Rong and Choc Anan are also suitable mates. All three varieties are known for being particularly sweet. The mangoes in the picture, are Nam Dok Mai (the yellow) and Ok Rong (the yellowish green). The Choc Anan is about the same size as the Ok Rong, but yellow in color. If these types of mangoes are not available where you are, look for the Manila mango or Atulfo from Mexico instead. They come pretty close in sweetness, taste, and color. Steer clear of mangoes that are unripe, tasteless or tart.
Mango with sticky rice is sold at street vendors as well as served in restaurants. But some restaurants only have it on the menu during the mango season, when the mangoes are at their best. This really shows how serious they are about this dessert only being paired with prime quality mangoes. The mango truly is the star of this dessert! The rice is designed to complement the sweet fruit – not the other way around.
It is best to eat mango w/sticky rice shortly after it is made since refrigerated sticky rice will turn hard. The coconut milk also expires quickly.
Tips before you start cooking:
- The sticky rice and coconut milk must be hot when mixed together, or the rice will not absorb the liquid.
- Yellow mung beans as the topping will add some crunchiness in contrast to the soft rice.
- You can use cane sugar or palm sugar instead of white sugar, but it will result in a more creamy colored sticky rice.
- For more detailed instructions about how to steam the rice, click here: How to cook sticky rice.
Mango w/sticky rice - Khao Niao Mamuang
- 1 dl raw glutinous (sticky) rice
- 1 dl coconut milk
- 35 gr. sugar (equals 2 tbsp)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 mango
- 1 tbsp yellow mung beans/sesame seeds (toasted lightly)
- Coconut cream (optional):
- 1/2 dl. coconut milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- A bit of rice flour
- Step 1 Rinse the rice well and soak in tepid water for min. 6 hours. Rinse again and steam the rice for about 20 min.’s
- Step 2 While the rice is steamning, prepare the coconut sauce: Heat the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a pot over medium heat. The mixture should be very hot, but not allowed to boil or it will curdle. Stir constantly until the sugar and salt is fully disolved. Remove it from the heat.
- Step 3 Place the rice in a bowl and add the coconut sauce. Both rice and milk must be warm when mixed, or the rice will not absorb the coconut milk. Mix well and evenly together. Cover with plastic and let it sit for about 30 min.’s.
- Step 4 If you are making the optional extra coconut sauce, do the following: In a separate pot, add the other portion of coconut milk and salt. Heat and stir until the salt is dissolved. Thicken it slightly with just a bit of rice flour. Set aside at room temperature allowing it to cool down.
- Step 5 Peel and slice the mango.
- Step 6 To serve, add a portion of the sticky rice on a plate. Place some mangoes on top or on the side, and sprinkle with yellow mung beans or sesame seeds.
- Step 7 Optional: pour the extra coconut cream over it, or serve it on the side.