Classic and very popular Thai dessert, Khao Niaw Ma Muang or Sticky Rice & Mango is often requested in Thai cooking classes. Luckily it isn’t too difficult to make, you just need the right kind of ingredients such as Thai glutinous rice, Thai coconut milk, and Thai ripe mangos (preferably the sweet Nam Dok Mai breed).
Ingredients (makes 2-4 servings)
Sticky Rice in Coconut Syrup
- 1 cup, (about 200g), Thai glutinous rice (preferably Khiaw Ngoo breed) (or a mixture of white glutinous rice and a table spoon of black glutinous rice for exotic look)
- 4 cups water (to soak the rice)
- 1/2 tsp alum powder (optional, if you don’t already have it in cupboard, skip it, move on to next ingredients)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sweet mangos, to serve
Coconut Cream Topping
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp rice flour (dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- Fried golden Mung Bean sprinkles to top (optional)
Rice preparation and cooking
- In a large bowl, wash the rice by submerging in water and gently rubbing it between your hands. Then rinse and drain the cloudy water from the bowl. Do this twice.
- Add clean water to the bowl enough just to cover the rice by about 3 cm.
- OPTIONAL: Add alum powder. Stir by hand to dissolve it and soak the rice at least 3 hours. The alum will give the rice the nice sheen.
- Fill the bottom pot of your Thai Bamboo, or regular, steamer 3/4 full of water. Bring it to boil on high heat.
- Rinse the rice in water several times until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain the rice and pour into muslin cloth to go into a Thai bamboo steamer. You can also just use a muslin cloth and steam it in your usual steamer.
- Steam for about 15 minutes and flip the muslin bundle over to evenly steam the rice on both sides.
- Steam for a total of 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked and opaque.
- While the rice is being steamed, prepare your coconut syrup by adding coconut milk, sugar, salt into a brass wok. If you don’t have one you can also use another wok or pot. Stir all the ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.
- When the rice is almost cooked, place the wok of coconut syrup onto the medium heat.
- Keep stirring until it comes to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat and put the syrup mixture into a heat proof container with a lid.
- When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and gently tip the rice into the syrup bowl. Quickly stir the rice into the syrup and make sure they are thoroughly mixed. Close the lid and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid and flip the rice with a wooden spatula. It may look like one big block of rice stuck together at this stage but that is normal. Stir to fluff the rice again. Close the lid and let the rice absorb the remaining of the coconut syrup. Let cool completely while making the coconut cream topping.
Coconut Cream Topping
- In a brass wok or heavy bottom saucepan, combine coconut milk and rice flour together and stir until the flour dissolves.
- Add sugar and salt, stir again until sugar dissolves.
- Place over medium low heat and keep stirring until the sauce is thicker and can coat the back of a wooden spoon (think custard consistency). Turn off the heat.
- Plate your cooled sticky rice and pour the coconut cream topping over or serve in a small side dish to be added to each guest’s preference. Add fresh sliced mango to the side.
- For a modern style dish add crunchy, fried golden Mung Bean sprinkles on top of the coconut sauce (old fashioned fans may find this disrupts the soft and smooth texture of the dessert, and opt out).