Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

The most important ingredient in this dish is the mango.  The sticky rice and coconut milk are the backdrop to this “king of fruit”.  The best mango for this dessert is a small, sweet yellow type called Ataulfo (Honey Mango or Manila Mango).  It is non-fiborous and widely available throughout the United States.  Only the ripest (sweetest)  mangoes should be used and can be detected by touch and smell.  The ataulfo mango will be yellow, supple to the touch with a full-fruity aroma and the skin may have a slight wrinkling to it which means it is at perfection!

Ataulfo Mango

The next important ingredient is the sticky rice–it’s not so much the rice itself but the manner in which the rice is cooked.  Sticky rice is also referred to as glutinous rice or sweet rice.  Do not be fooled because sticky rice does not contain gluten it actually has a higher starch content = sticky.  This rice is traditionally cooked by steaming in a woven bamboo basket. Due to lack of space and ease of use I usually perform the ol’ boil in a pot method.  However, I have heard of some cooks using a splatter guard atop a pot of boiling water and covering with a large bowl as a ‘homemade steam method’.

*When shopping in U.S. Asian markets sticky rice is usually labeled as sweet rice.

*Thai people believe that sticky rice makes you mellow and that mangoes are a comfort food which also aid digestion.  A    satisfying ending to any meal!

This is how my Coconut, Mango Sticky Rice turned out:

photo by michelle.

I basically followed the recipe (shown below) from Darlene Schmidt.  I added cardamom and a drop of almond extract as well.

Classic Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called ‘sticky rice’ OR ‘glutinous rice’, available at Asian food stores
  • 1-2 ripe mangos, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4-5 Tbsp. palm sugar OR brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 can good-quality (thick) coconut milk
  • water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

Preparation:

  1. Soak the rice in 1 cup water for 20-30 minutes, OR up to 4 hours.
  2. Do not drain the rice. Simply add 3/4 cup (more) water, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Stir this into the rice.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Simmer in this way for 20 minutes, or until the coconut-water has been absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner with the lid on tight. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. To make the sauce, warm (do not boil) the rest of the can of coconut milk over medium-low heat (5 minutes). Add 3 Tbsp. sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  6. Taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. (note that it will taste less sweet when added to the rice).
  7. To assemble, place a few ‘mounds’ of sticky rice in each serving bowl. Top with slices of the mango, then pour sauce over. It should look like an English pudding with custard sauce, with the mounds of rice swimming in sauce.
    OR, here’s another method that results in even more coconut-ty flavor (optional): Add scoops of rice (portion out 1 scoop per person) directly to the sauce pot and stir over low heat, gently breaking apart large lumps, but leaving smaller lumps/chunks). Now add the mango pieces and gently stir until everything is warmed through. Portion out into serving bowls, making sure everyone has equal amounts of rice, mango, and plenty of sauce.

ลาบไก่ … larb gai

A delicious salad hailing from Laos.  Larb can be prepared with finely chopped beef, chicken, pork or fish, lime juice and fish sauce.  The salad is garnished with fresh herbs such as Thai holy basil, culantro and mint.  It is also mixed with chili, galangal and bean sprouts and is best served with sticky rice.  I was introduced to this salad by my Uncle John at a Thai restaurant in West Hollywood.  I was a bit turned off by the name….Larb kinda sounds like lard and doesn’t really roll off the tongue with flattery!  However, once I saw the Larb dressed in all it’s glory, brimming with clean, zesty flavor the name warmed to me.

photo by michelle.

Larb may be found on most Thai appetizer menus and can be spelled as Laap, Laab, Larb, Lahb.  Apparently the different spellings are representative of the long A vowel sound in the English language.  I’ve learned that Larb  should be pronounced with a British accent which accentuates the long A. 

There are many representations of Larb Gai and it is a simple dish to prepare.  The meat may be boiled, sautéed or grilled, I prefer the latter because it emits a smoky essence to the dish.  Below is a recipe for Larb Gai from The Splendid Table

Chicken Larb (Laotion Chicken and Herb Salad)

Sami Scripter, Sheng Yang

From Cooking From the Heart: the Hmong Kitchen in America by Sami Scripter, Sheng Yang Copyright © 2009 University Of Minnesota Press.

Makes 8 servings

Light, healthy, and full of flavor—nothing can beat chicken larb for a simple but elegant meal with friends on a warm summer evening. This version is easy to make and the ingredients can be found in almost any grocery store.

Use only fresh, blemish-free herbs. Chop and slice them by hand, because a food processor will bruise them. Loosely pack the herbs into the measuring cup. Although you can use ground chicken or turkey, chopping the meat yourself gives the dish a finer, more desirable texture.

    • 2 whole boneless chicken breasts or 3 pounds ground chicken or turkey
    • Juice of 2 large limes, plus 1 lime for garnish
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    • 1 stalk minced lemongrass, (tough outer leaves, root, and top several inches removed before mincing)
    • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    • 2 small hot chili peppers, minced, or 1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    • 3 tablespoons Toasted Sticky Rice Flour
    • 1 chicken bouillon cube
    • 1 heaping cup chopped fresh mint
    • 1 heaping cup chopped cilantro
    • Several additional stems of mint and cilantro, for garnish
    • 1 bunch green onions, green part chopped, white part sliced diagonally
    • 1/2 cup chopped Thai basil
    • 1 large head leaf lettuce (16 leaves, for wrappers)

On a large, clean chopping board, chop the chicken with a heavy knife or cleaver. As you chop the chicken, fold it over on itself. Continue to fold and chop until the meat is very finely chopped. Put the meat in a large bowl and squeeze the lime juice over it. Add the rice wine. Cook the chicken mixture in a nonstick skillet (donít use any oil) over medium-high heat, tossing and stirring constantly just until the meat turns white.

Return the mixture with any accumulated juice to the bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature. While the chicken cools, prepare the fresh herbs. Add the ginger (or galanga), lemongrass, lemon peel, chili peppers (or crushed chili flakes), garlic, fish sauce, salt, white pepper, and rice flour to the cooled mixture.

Break apart the chicken bouillon cube and sprinkle it on top. Toss the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Then add the mint, cilantro, green onions, and Thai basil. Gently toss everything together.

Break lettuce leaves away from the head, and wash and dry them. Scoop 1/4 cup of larb onto each lettuce leaf and arrange the leaves on a large platter. Garnish with mint and cilantro sprigs and wedges of lime.

Diners pick up a lettuce leaf and roll it up to eat. Serve larb with cool sticky rice.