22 March 2011

Mango sticky rice

A number of years ago, my good friend Dr. Ricky stopped us at a stand at the Baltimore City farmer's market. It was a Thai sticky rice stand, and they served up a fabulous dessert. Slightly sweet and sticky, with the slices of fresh mango on top, it was a dessert that stuck with me. It had a truly unique flavour (that I would later learn was palm sugar) that had an unusual sweetness to it. I had to find a steady source of this stuff.

I did, from Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts. This recipe for Mango sticky rice is derived from that book:
1 cup glutinous rice
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
23 cup palm sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp salt
1 pandan leaf
2 ripe champagne mangoes
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Glutinous rice

Glutinous rice is often sold as "sweet rice". When you crack open the bag, the grains look quite different from typical white rice. They're shorter and stubbier. And they are smoother with an ivory finish. You can find them at your Asian grocer.

Rinse the rice several times in water. The rinsings will be cloudy. After the final rinse, soak the rice in multiple volumes of water. Leave to soak for two or more hours, while you prepare dinner.

When ready to cook, drain the rice, and wrap it in cheesecloth.

Glutinous rice

Set the wrapped rice into a steamer, and steam for 20 minutes, or until properly cooked and soft. While cooking, you can prepare the "sauce".

Palm sugar (also called palm candy) is a pain-in-the-ass to work with.  It's like a rock. If you can, buy the small rocks, rather than the large ones. It's easier to work with. Either way, you're going to end up smashing it with a meat tenderizer to get it into a measurable size.

Palm sugar

Apparently coconut milk comes in varying quality based on the brand. I am assured by Dr. Ricky that this is the brand you want:

Coconut milk

But otherwise, get the best kind you can at your local Asian grocer.

Palm sugar and coconut milk

Mix the coconut milk, the vanilla bean (with seeds removed into the milk), the palm sugar, the salt and the pandan leaf (if you can get it). Boil over medium heat until the palm sugar has completely dissolved.

Coconut milk gamish

When the rice is done steaming, remove it to a bowl. Add the coconut milk mixture, and allow to soak 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the mangoes. Peel and slice them.

Champagne mangoes

Check out those champagne mangoes. The green one is not ripe. The yellow one is nearly ripe. The yellow one with black spots is perfect. That's the one you want to serve.

Scoop some of the rice mixture into a bowl to serve.

Sticky rice

Place the slices of mango on top, and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

Serve immediately. This is a perfect, sticky, palm-sugary-sweet, delicious dessert. This should be a regular part of your dessert options.



Cara said...

We had a test taste once and you preferred the regular mangoes to the champagne variety. You change your mind?

Indirect Heat said...

Yep, they grew on me. They're omni-present in my favourite Asian grocery store, and after having them a lot, I've grown to like them more than regular mangoes.

Anonymous said...

* said, great photos!

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