I use coconut milk twice in my Thai mango and sticky rice. I add it to the rice after cooking. Then, I drizzle more after the sweet mangoes and creamy rice are on the plate.
Is the rice cooked in coconut milk? No. The sticky rice is soaked for several hours to make the grains absorb water. It is then cooked with minimal amount of water then fluffed with a fork. Coconut milk is stirred in and the rice is covered to allow it to soften some more.
In Chiang Mai, the sticky rice sometimes comes in different colors. Red, blue (tinted with butterfly pea flower), green (cooked in pandan extract), yellow… And the mangoes are arranged in such pretty shapes too. There is a version where the sliced mangoes are formed into a rose which goes on top of the rice.
Well, as pretty as a rose formed with mango slices is, I’m too worried about overhandling ripe fruit. I prefer to slice the flesh thinly then scoop out the slices with a spoon. It can be even simpler — just score and serve in its skin.
But the day I made Thai mango and sticky rice, I was in the mood to play around with the plating. I used an ice cream scoop to mold the rice then dropped it gently at the center of a plate. I arranged the mango slices around the rice — not in perfect symmetry because that would have been beyond my skills, but more like putting up a low fence around the sticky rice.
Then, I poured in coconut milk around the perimeter of the mango “fence” knowing full well that, as the mango slices got eaten one by one, the coconut milk would seep through the cracks, reach the rice and allow the grains to turn even more moist. Looks dainty, doesn’t it? But was I content? Not quite.
I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds — black for dramatic contrast — over the contents of the plate.
And just how did I eat my mango sticky rice with all that coconut milk? Not as daintily as you’d think.
Thai Mango and Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk
- Dump the drained sticky rice into the rice cooker, add a pinch of salt and the pandan leaf then pour in a cup of water. Cook until the water has been absorbed.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork.
- Pour a cup of coconut milk over the rice and gently stir in. Cover the rice for another 10 minutes (no, there is no need to turn on the cooker again; just set to WARM) then fluff up the rice again.
- Spread the cooked rice in a shallow bowl to cool.
- Pour the remaining coconut milk into a small sauce pan, add the sugar and the remaining salt. Heat, stirring, just until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- Cut both sides of each mango close to the stone at the center. Discard the stones.
- Cut the mango halves into slices about a quarter of an inch thick. You can scoop out the mango flesh to separate it from the skin before slicing or you can slice first and scoop out the slices afterwards.
- Place a scoop of sticky rice at the center of four plates.
- Surround the rice with mango slices.
- Divide the remaining sweetened coconut milk into four portions and pour one portion around the mangoes on each plate.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
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