Who doesn’t love coconut sticky rice with mango? Here’s Matt Preston’s delicious take on a Thai favourite, from his cookbook World of Flavour (Penguin/Lantern). Matt has selected popular dishes from around the world and makes preparing them a breeze. Apart from the recipes, he imparts the myths and surprising stories behind the world’s best-loved dishes.
Serves: 4. Prep: 10 minutes (plus cooking). Cook: 35 minutes
This dish is delicious anytime.
Sticky rice is so called because of its low amylose content, rather than it having an excess of starch like risotto rice. That’s one of the rare facts I can find surrounding this dish, which is truly a Thai obsession. This obsession is as much for the salty sweetness of the rice as it is for its connection to another Thai national obsession: that of finding the perfect mango. These first-rate mangoes, needless to say, can only be found when mangoes are in season. Do try this dish with a little chilli, toasted sesame seeds, crispy yellow mung beans or with the rice flavoured with jasmine blossoms. Don’t try to make it when mangoes aren’t in season. You can substitute stinky durian for the mango if that’s your thing. (We debated whether ‘fragrant durian’ might be a better turn of phrase here, but please take the use of ‘stinky’ as it was intended, as a term of high praise.)
1¼ cups (250 g) glutinous rice
400 g can coconut milk
2 pandan leaves, twisted and tied in a knot
½ cup (110 g) caster sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons rice flour
3 mangoes, cheeks removed, peeled and thinly sliced (see Tip)
black sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Place the rice in a sieve and hold under cold running water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plenty of cold water. Cover the bowl with a tea towel. Set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight to soak.
Line a steamer with muslin or cheesecloth (if your steamer has small holes which the rice won’t go through you can skip lining the steamer). Drain the rice and transfer to the steamer. Spread out evenly over the muslin or cheesecloth. Place the steamer over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and steam for 30 minutes or until the rice is just tender but still firm to the bite.
While the rice steams, place the coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and coconut milk is almost to the boil (but do not, please, boil).
Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Remove the pandan leaves from the milk mixture. Reserve ½ cup of the milk mixture in a separate bowl. Add the remaining milk mixture to the rice and stir to combine. Cover with the tea towel again and set aside, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
While the rice is set aside, add the rice flour to the reserved milk mixture. Stir until well combined. Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Use a small bowl or ramekin to spoon the rice into mounds on serving plates. Top with the sliced mango. Drizzle with the thickened milk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tip: Use the ripest, best tree-ripened mangoes you can find. This may be worth an adventure out to your local Asian markets or farmers’ market.