Mango sticky rice is one of the best ways to enjoy this summer’s mangoes. This popular Thai dessert is super easy to make and sticky rice is the perfect complement to fresh mangoes. The sweet rice is steamed and then soaks up a wonderful sweet and salty coconut cream sauce and will transport you back to tropical holidays. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
Mango sticky rice or Khao Neow Ma Muang is a dessert that is very popular in Thailand and Laos. It has a long history dating back to the Ayutthaya period from 1351 to 1767. The most popular time of the year to eat mango sticky rice is from April to May when mangoes are plentiful. In Thailand they use Rong mangoes which can be quite fibrous or Dok Mai mangoes which are less fibrous but really use any mango that you like. This year has been such a great season for mangoes. We can’t stop buying them and we tend to buy the R2E2 variety of mango because it’s massive, firm fleshed and coconutty in flavor and not stringy but use your favorite mango for this. An added bonus is that mango sticky rice is a vegan dessert and is also gluten free!
What is sticky rice? Sticky rice is sold as “sweet rice” and is nowadays available at most supermarkets in the Asian section. I bought mine from my local supermarket and it was $3 a bag. Sticky rice has a lovely, chewy, sticky texture. It is cooked differently from other rice. It needs to be soaked beforehand (ideally overnight) and then steamed.
Tips for Making Mango Sticky Rice:
1 – If you don’t have time to soak your sweet rice overnight, soak it in warm water for 2 hours.
2 – I slice the mango into a flower pattern but you don’t have to do this. You can just cut the mango cheeks in a hatch pattern.
3 – I specify quite a bit of salt in this but I think it absolutely makes a difference. If you’re not convinced try adding a bit at a time but the extra salt makes this taste like a restaurant quality dessert.
4 – I only use coconut cream in this, again to give this more of a restaurant quality result.
5 – Vanilla is not a traditional ingredient but in this small quantity it really enhances the flavor of the coconut without making it too vanilla-ey.
PS don’t discard those mango skins and pits! Even if they’ve been scraped clean you will be amazed at how much mango comes off then for this incredible mango pit syrup! I keep a container of mango pits and skins in the fridge and when I’ve got a box full I make this syrup (that is also fabulous in cocktails-mango bellini anyone?).
We ate a lot of this mango sticky rice these holidays and have really enjoyed this summer holiday. Usually we go elsewhere for new year’s, but this year we stayed in Sydney. Usually Mr NQN goes to the beach to go wing foiling but one day I suggested that we make it a family activity. He was stunned. I usually hate the beach. I hate sand and I don’t like sitting in the sun but when we went to the beach and I saw people with beach tents I realized that that was everything that I was looking for. He was so excited about this family outing that he went out the next day and bought a beach tent for our family day at the beach. Even while we were driving there he said, “I still can’t believe you’re going to the beach,” to which I replied, “Me too.”
After setting up the tent for us he said that he said that he had to go to the car to unload all his wing foiling gear. Just before he left he said, “I’ll be the person with an aqua sail, red board and black helmet”.
“Aqua sail, red board, black helmet,” I repeated to him. I also promised to take some video of him so that he could put it up on his Instagram account. Then the boys and I waited for him to go back to the car and set up his gear. Teddy was a little bit anxious as he didn’t know where his daddy had gone but then I saw the aqua sail, red board and black helmet cutting across the water in a smooth trajectory. He had really improved and was rather masterful on the water.
“Look Teddy and Milo, that’s your daddy!!” I said to them pointing at him. I was hoping that they’d understand that they didn’t have to worry. Then my phone buzzed. “I’m going out on the water now,” said Mr NQN.
“Ok that’s not your daddy,” I said to the dogs.
I looked out onto the water trying to find him but then I noticed the strangest thing. There were now THREE aqua sails with red boards and black helmets!! I had no idea which one was Mr NQN. What were the chances that there was such a preponderance of this exact color combination? I picked the person that I felt looked like him in stature and posture on the right hand side of the beach. He was going well (not as well as the first person but there you go). I took half a dozen videos of him cutting back and forth across the water. Then someone approached me on the beach on the left. It was Mr NQN.
“I’ve got six great videos of a random dude for you,” I said laughing. Teddy and Milo were overjoyed to see their daddy and followed him out to the edge of the water. We spent all day at the beach. I had a book, some food and drink and my airpods to listen to a podcast but I spent most of the time watching the boys. Teddy stayed close to me but Milo always the adventurer went foraging. He brought back three oyster shells. When it got too hot they had some water or walked into the water and rolled in the cold, steamy sand, their noses brushed with sand. Then they ran with other dogs, foraged some more, Teddy got the hang of the oyster shell foraging after seeing Milo do it and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and go home for a barbecue. And I ended up with lots of videos of a random guy wingfoiling!
So tell me Dear Reader, what was a highlight of your holidays? Do you like mango sticky rice? Do you have a favorite mango variety?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Mango Sticky Rice
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus overnight soaking
Cooking time: 30 minutes concurrently
- 200g/7oz. sweet rice (sticky rice)
- 400ml/14 flozs/ coconut cream
- 150g/5oz. white sugar
- 1.5-2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or pandan extract (note: commercial pandan extract is usually bright green which will color your coconut)
- 2 mangoes, firm but ripe
Step 1 – Soak the rice in plenty of water overnight. It won’t expand that much but you want it covered by two inches of water. Drain and place a cheesecloth in a steamer vessel and then place on a trivet and steam for 30 minutes.
After soaking, before steaming
Thermomix directions: place in the steamer insert and fill the Thermomix bowl with water making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the insert. Place the soaked rice in the insert and set for 30 minutes, varoma, speed 3.
Step 2 – While the rice is steaming, gently heat the coconut cream, sugar and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla and set aside. It will thicken a little upon cooling. Set aside 1/2 cup/125ml/4flozs of this to serve with the rice.
Sweetened coconut cream
Step 3 – Empty the cooked rice into a bowl and mix with the remaining sweetened coconut cream and allow it to absorb. I then spray a rice bowl with oil and place some rice in the bowl, pressing down firmly and then up onto a plate.
Mixing with the coconut cream
Step 4 – To make mango flowers, peel the skin off the mango and then slice thinly on an angle. Gather around the edges and shape into a flower (you may need to discard some end slices if they are soft). Place on top of the sticky rice. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve with the extra sweet coconut cream.