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Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

My last pre-baby hurrah was a trip to Southeast Asia a year and a half ago. Christine and I ate so many delicious bites, it is hard to pick a favorite, but the coconut sticky rice stands out in my memory. The dessert is simple, yet complex: the rice is sweet and salty, the ripe mango is tender and fragrant. It is a symphony of flavors, achieved without any gluten or dairy!

I have been waiting for mango season, to finally replicate this dish. Did you know there are over 400 varieties of mango? It’s a travesty that only 2 or 3 are available to us in the US. Ataúlfo mangos are easily the best of the limited selection.

This recipe from serious eats is fussy, requiring a steamer for the rice. It also requires advanced planning, since the rice needs to soak. Oh, and you will also need to make a special trip to the Asian market to find the Thai sweet sticky rice. But, if you do all of that, you will be rewarded with a dessert that transports you to Thailand, without a 20 hour plane trip.



Ingredients

1 cup Thai sweet sticky rice (7 ounces; 200g) (see note above)
1 (14-ounce; 400ml) can full-fat coconut milk, blended well to incorporate fat, divided
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces; 100g), divided
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons (6g) cornstarch
2 Ataúlfo mangoes (about 6 ounces or 170g each), peeled, pitted, and sliced (see note above)
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cover rice with water by several inches and let stand at room temperature 1 hour or up to overnight.

2. Drain rice. Assemble a steamer, line with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and add rice, smoothing surface to form an even layer. Set over high heat, bring water in steamer to a boil, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring half the coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Whisk in 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and a large pinch of salt until dissolved. The coconut milk should taste salty-sweet.

4. Transfer cooked rice to a large heatproof bowl and pour coconut milk mixture on top (it will look like too much liquid). Stir well to combine, cover with plastic, and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. (You can let it stand up to 2 hours at room temperature.)

5. Meanwhile, clean saucepan and add remaining coconut milk to it. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with a couple of teaspoons of the hot coconut milk and stir to form a slurry. Whisk cornstarch slurry into coconut milk and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and a large pinch of salt until dissolved. Keep coconut cream warm.

6. When ready to serve, mound coconut rice onto plates and arrange sliced mango alongside. Drizzle coconut cream all over rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve right away.

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