Two summers ago, I went to Phuket with Tristan. It was my first vacation with him. In fact, it was my first vacation ever. Up until then, I'd been to different countries for volleyball and softball tournaments in high school, but there was very little time given for sightseeing. I'd also gone to a couple states in the U.S. visiting relatives, but let's face it, going around visiting relatives is no vacation.
One of the best things about the hotel we stayed at in Thailand was the breakfast buffet. My favorite was the bite-size portions of coconut sticky rice topped with a cube of mango. I had never had mango with sticky rice, or khao niao mamuang, before but I became obsessed. I kept eating multiples of these every morning, along with fried rice and noodles and ended up gaining about 4lbs (2kgs) during my week in Phuket.
One of the nights we spent in Phuket, we went to the hotel restaurant and I ordered a full portion of mango with sticky rice. We had to bite our tongues to stop ourselves from laughing when the waitress came and said, "Manko rice?"
You see, manko in Japanese is a slang for vagina.
Last weekend I went to the Thai festival in Osaka with my parents. It was held in a big open dirt field right by Osaka castle. There were many booths, and I was determined to find mango with sticky rice. I found one booth that had it, but there were other tempting dessert options so I got a dessert platter that included mango with sticky rice, coconut pancakes (kanom krok), and deep fried bananas and sweet potatoes. One bite of the juicy mango with coconutty rice and I was instantly transported to Thailand. I had to make it myself.
After some research, I realized Thai sticky rice, khao niao, is different from Japanese sticky rice. I ordered my sticky rice online.
Rinse the sticky rice and soak it in water for 4 hours. Drain the water and take the sticky rice out onto a cheesecloth-lined steamer. In Japan, we cook our sticky rice in the rice cooker using the sticky rice setting, but in Thailand, you use the steamer. Apparently it makes a different in both taste and texture.
Steam the sticky rice for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the rice halfway through. If you don't flip the rice, the top layer of rice becomes dry.
While the rice is steaming, put the coconut milk, sugar, and salt into a small saucepan and heat it until the sugar melts.
Put the steamed sticky rice into a bowl and pour the coconut mixture over the rice. Mix together with a spoon and let it sit for 15 minutes.
While you're waiting for the sticky rice to soak up the coconut milk mixture, make the coconut sauce. This is optional, but I think the salty coconut sauce pairs really well with the sweet rice and mangoes. Add the coconut milk, rice flour, sugar, and salt into a pan. Mix together and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat off and let it sit.
You could plate your sticky rice at this point, but I wanted a rounded mound of rice because that's how it was served to me at the hotel in Thailand. I took my kid portion rice bowl (yes, I use a blue elephant rice bowl meant for kids) and packed all of the rice in.
Unmold the sticky rice onto the plate and add slices of fresh mango alongside the rice. Pour the coconut sauce on top of the rice and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.
I'm so excited I'm able to recreate my favorite Thai dessert at home! With each bite, I'm back lying on the beach sipping on coconut juice.
What's your favorite Thai dessert?
Mango with Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Mamuang)
- ½ cup (100g) Thai sticky rice
- ½ cup (120ml) canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup (80ml) canned coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon rice flour
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- pinch of sugar
- 2 ripe mangoes, sliced
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Rinse the sticky rice and soak it in water for 4 hours.
- Drain the water and take the sticky rice out onto a cheesecloth-lined steamer, and steam for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the rice halfway through.
- While the rice is steaming, put the coconut milk, sugar, and salt into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar melts.
- Put the steamed sticky rice into a bowl and pour the coconut mixture over the rice. Mix together with a spoon and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, rice flour, salt and sugar into a pan. Mix together and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat off and let it sit.
- Plate the sticky rice and put the sliced mango alongside the rice. Pour the coconut sauce on top of the rice and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.