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 Amazon.com 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 Forbes.com, 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.
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
Protein: 3.5 g