This dessert was one of the best things that I ate in Thailand. Not the most complex by any means, or in any way challenging. For comfort, straight forward deliciousness and a dish that makes you feel brighter about life as you leave an empty plate behind, look no further.
I ate it many times in Thailand. I couldn’t resist it. However, I usually had to order it holding my nose with a lemon sucking face while trying not not barf, for it was almost always served from stalls that sold its vicious smelly neighbour durian.
DURIAN. Does anything smell more foul? Yes, rotten meat, cadavers and sewers but durian smells of all three. It is like a demon that has digested them and is burping it for your displeasure.
Walking down the streets of Bangkok admiring beautiful colours, delicious smelling street food, watching passing monks gilded in orange robes, I would suddenly feel squeamish and sure enough shortly after I would see a durian stand. Spiky green fruit, bloated and proud. If they were a cartoon character they would have an ill fitting suit with buttons popping from their shirts.
Now, I know you will say – BUT THE TASTE! And yes, I hear the taste is amazing, but I have a fierce sense of smell and even the mango sitting nearby has a lingering taste of durian. So I could not do it. Next time, I will force myself. With a clothes peg on my nose and a doggy bag.
I have gone off track. Back to sublime mango. Cheerful, bright and sweet. Coconut sticky rice is sold as a dessert in Thailand but for me, it makes a sublime breakfast. This really is best if you can soak the sticky rice overnight but don’t worry if not, it is still worth making it. Get a rich ripe mango dripping with syrupy sticky sweetness. Alphonso mangoes are in season, and are in the shops in Tooting now, that is what I am using.
Note on the recipe: all ingredients are available in Thai shops, Chinatown in London (specifically New Loon Moon which also sells fresh young coconuts and every Thai ingredient I have ever needed for Thai cooking incl recent recipes). I also spied Thai sticky rice and palm sugar in my local Waitrose. It is best to make this when you are going to eat it as the rice is best just after it is cooked. It can soak up the coconut milk and get soggy over time too.
RECIPE: Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
100g Thai sticky rice
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 large mango, sliced with skin removed (or chopped – whatever is easiest)
160ml tin coconut cream (or a tin of coconut milk, using the thickest bit that settles)
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Soak the sticky rice in water overnight in the fridge. Rinse before cooking thoroughly under the tap. (Rinse if you forgot to soak the rice also).
Cook the rice for 15 minutes in 150ml of water, adding more if you need to if it boils off. When the rice is cooked (it should still have bite), put a lid on the rice allowing it to soak up the remaining water.
Dissolve the palm sugar in 75 ml of the coconut cream, stirring it in cold. Add to the still warm sticky rice and leave to the side.
Reduce the remaining coconut cream by half over a medium heat.
Serve the coconut sticky rice with mango on the side, reduced coconut cream poured over the rice, and black sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
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