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We are well underway with summertime sizzling temperatures here in the far south. The humidity is descending, curtains are being drawn, and children can be heard laughing and splashing at the neighborhood pools. It's summer in the South!
Whenever we treat ourselves to Thai food, we can't seem to get out of our favorite restaurant without the 4 of us sharing this "Sticky Rice with Mangoes". It's funny how all four of us like it. I've had friends try it and received very mixed reviews but we all thinks its a tasty treat.
It's time for mangoes! What better fruit to represent the burst of nature that takes over during summertime. The vibrant colors of the inside of a mango are a delightful surprise based on the more demur outer hues that are much more subdued.
Sticky Rice is made with soft sushi grade rice cooked in coconut milk. It is served warm and chewy next to the cold and flavorful mango. The restaurant here in Houston is very adamant that they only serve mango when it is in season. I thought I would give this fun dessert a try since I saw mangos in our market and serve it at home. Mangos aren't a fruit we are used to seeing readily available so we are delighted to have them available.
I love the color combination of the white sticky rice with the burst of bright orange. The rice looks like it would be plain and flavorless but is sweet, milky and chewy. I think most people who try it are surprised that coconut milk is so sweet.
I spooned the warm sweet rice into ramekins into order to mold them into the same shape as served in the restaurant. It was fun to use dishes that we brought back from Japan that don't get used as often as they should.
Mango is so bright and juicy. I was surprised to see so many things in nature that remind me of this fruit.
Several years ago, I made a wonderful salsa for pork chops with cubes of mango chunks in it. I'll have to dig up that recipe. Not only was it tasty but it was beautiful alongside of the pork.
After living in Kansas for a few years, we definitely got used to seeing sunflowers all over the markets there. It was fun to bring home a bundle of them recently and be reminded of the beautiful state of Kansas. We knew very little about that state when we moved there but we were continuously delighted with its beauty.
I'm sure I'll be asked to make this Thai dessert again and again. I imagine it will become a yearly request as soon as mango season is confirmed. The other Thai dessert we enjoy is fried banana slices drizzled with honey. Mmmmm. Maybe that will be my next Thai dessert endeavor.
Mango and Sticky Rice Pudding (Khao Nieow Ma Muang)
(Adapted from Food of the Word Cookbook)
4 large ripe mangoes
200 g (1 cup) glutinous rice (Snippet's Note: I used sushi rice)
170 ml (2/3 cup) coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
170 ml (2/3 cup coconut cream mixed with 1/4 tsp salt, for garnish
2 tbsp dry-fried mung beans (optional)
To Make Sticky Rice:
Put the glutinous rice in a bowl and pour in cold water to come 5 cm (2 inches) above the rice. Soak for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Drain and transfer to a steamer. Spread the rice in the steamer. Cover and steam at low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the rice swells and is glistening and tender. The cooking time will vary depending on the soaking time.
While the rice is cooking, stir the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as the rice is cooked, use a wooden spoon to gently mix it with the coconut milk. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Peel the mangoes and slice off the two outside cheeks of each, removing as much flesh as you can in large pieces. Avoid cutting very close to the stone where the flesh is fibrous. Discard the stone. Slice each cheek lengthways into four or five pieces.
Arrange the mango pieces on a serving plate. Spoon a portion of steamed sticky rice with coconut milk near the mango slices. Spoon the coconut cream garnish on top and sprinkle with mung beans. Serve at room temperature.