When it comes to desserts, most of us have a favorite. For some, it’s creme brulee. For others, it might be chocolate cake, berry pie or bread pudding. For me, it’s sweet sticky rice with mango.
The dessert is served in many Thai restaurants, but re-creating the dish at home eluded me. A few years back, while teaching cooking classes at Plum Pudding in Aiken, I became friends with an Aiken real estate agent named Pat O’Neil (she now resides in Greenville, S.C.) and described my frustration with all the methods I had tried to prepare sweet sticky rice at home. Fortunately, a chef had shared a recipe with her that works perfectly every time.
The method is simple. Cook Jasmine rice in a saucepan while you reduce coconut milk in another sauce pan. You want the coconut milk to reduce down to one cup, and then you stir in sugar and a pinch of salt. When the rice is done, you combine everything and set aside for 30 minutes to absorb the coconut milk.
It is essential that the rice is cooked right before you add the coconut milk mixture. The rice has to be hot in order to absorb the liquid.
Finding Jasmine rice used to require a trip to an Asian market or gourmet grocer, but now you can find it alongside the other rices (usually next to the basmati rice) at supermarkets.
Thai restaurants are very particular about the mangoes used to garnish the sticky rice, and many won’t serve it if they can’t get perfectly ripe mangoes. I’ve seen some gorgeous mangoes lately (and on sale) at supermarkets, but if you can’t find a ripe mango you usually can find jars of mango slices in the produce section, although I’m sure a Thai chef wouldn’t approve.
This Thai rice pudding is usually served warm or at room temperature.