Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thai Sticky Rice With Mangoes (Khao Niao Mamuang)

Sticky rice with mangoes is a Thai dessert often sold by vendors with street carts in the spring and early summer while mangoes are in season.

It's an incredibly simple dessert to make, given that one has the ability to steam the sticky rice properly, with only 5 ingredients.

First a note on sticky rice itself; sticky rice, also called glutinous rice, is a short grain rice that is widely cultivate in Southeast Asia. Although it is called glutinous rice, it does not contain any gluten. 'Glutinous' is used in the sense that the rice is sticky, unlike other varieties of rice that are dry and fluffy when cooked. Sticky rice is also frequently called sweet rice, waxy rice, and botan rice.

Additionally, while most rice (at least in the West) is boiled, sticky rice must be soaked for several hours and steamed. I use a traditional steamer that is available in many Asian stores and on that looks like this:

Water is put into the lower basin and set to boil, while the rice is placed in the steamer basket. Some prefer to wrap the rice in cheesecloth before putting it into the basket. I used to take this extra step, but once I realized that the rice easily releases from the basket and cooks exactly the same way I eliminated the cheesecloth. A lid from a pot (I use the lid to my 2 quart saucepan) is placed over the top of the rice to trap the steam in the basket. The water boils and steams the rice for about 20 minutes, and voila - sticky rice.

I imagine that one can use any type of steamer that uses this method to cook the rice, it doesn't have to be a traditional basket steamer. I've never attempted it any other way, but I'm sure that someone could McGyver up a method to make it work.

For this recipe, once the rice is steamed it is simply left to soak in a pot of warmed, sweetened coconut milk until it absorbs it all and then topped with chopped, ripe mango and some sesame seeds. It's one of my husband's favorite things to eat, and if I can remember to soak the rice (it must soak for at least 8 hours before steaming) I usually make it for him whenever I find mangoes on sale.

I've used regular coconut milk for this recipe, only because the commissary was out of lite coconut milk. Coconut milk is one of the only plant products that is extremely high in saturated fat. As such I have usually tried to limit our intake of coconut milk, but according to this article on, I may have the wrong idea about coconuts. All the talk about good fats vs. bad fats gets can be overwhelming - but apparently even though coconuts are high in saturated fat, it's a Medium-Chain Triglyceride that the body burns as it would a carbohydrate, for energy, instead of storing it, like normal saturated fat.

All that being said, this is a delicious and ridiculously easy dessert that's great for the mango season. I suggest trying it at least once, you may fall in love with it as we have.

Thai Sticky Rice with Mangoes (Khao Niao Mamuang)

Makes 6 servings (90g rice + 75g mango)

1 cup dry glutinous rice, soaked for at least 8 hours and then steamed over boiling water for 20-25 minutes
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar (preferably grated palm sugar, but white granulated will do)
2 mangoes, pitted, skinned, and chopped roughly
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

In a medium saucepan heat the coconut milk and sugar over med-low heat until hot, but not boiling. Reserve two tablespoons of the mixture, set aside. Place the still warm sticky rice into the coconut milk mixture, cover with lid, and let rest for 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Serve rice with the chopped mangoes on top, drizzle the reserved coconut-sugar mixture over the mangoes and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds.

Nutritional Estimate

This is a nutritional estimate, I do not claim it to be exact - although it is pretty close.

1 serving = 90g rice + 75g chopped mango + 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Calories: 262
Carbohydrates: 43.5g
Fat: 9g
Protein: 3.5 g


Anonymous said...

Oh this looks heavenly! I looooove sticky rice. I steam mine in my tamale pot, lined with cheesecloth. Semi-McGyver. :)

Cathy said...

This is one of my favorite desserts but have never tried to make it. Thanks for the recipe and the great photo on TS. I'm happy I found you.

Jackie said...

I love sticky rice. Pair it with mango and I'm in heavenn. Check my sticky rice fusion recipe

Anonymous said...

I remember I ordered this in a Thai restaurant once to share with my friend, and it was gone in a flash. thanks for the recipe, and the steaming tip!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Oh I didn't know that sticky rice should be steamed. And about the set-up. Learn something everyday. Thanks!

Kristin @ Going Country said...

I really, really love mangoes. Though I must admit to never eating them any way other than slurping them over the kitchen sink. Because I'm classy like that.

Carolyn Jung said...

Dare I confess that I, too, have never steamed my sticky rice? Uh, I use the lazy person's way -- automatic rice cooker. But that steamer basket is gorgeous! It's so pretty I might just have to get one to try out. ;)

Nyki said...

This looks so good! I am a sucker for anything with coconut milk, and I love mangoes! It looks easy too...I will have to try this one.

Erin said...

I apologize for the stupid question, but when you say it needs to soak for 8 hours, do you mean in the coconut milk? Or in water? I wasn't quite clear on the order things needed to happen, but I LOVE mango sticky rice, and I really want to try making it myself since so few thai restaurants seem to sell it (at least near me). :(

Jude said...

If you want to really piss off someone Southeast Asian, slap them in the forehead just as they're about to take their first bite of this.