Mango season, March-June, is upon us here in ThailandÂ withÂ ripeÂ mangoesÂ falling from the tree just outside my kitchen and rice recently harvested from the paddies. The combination of mangoes eaten with sticky rice is the quintessential Thai hot season treat.Â
Traditionally glutenous rice is a staple of agrarian life. Simply steamed…firm and sticky which lends itself to eating the rice held between the thumb and index finger and folding the rice around seasoned meats,Â and stews. As a sweet treat the sticky rice is cooked with coconut milk and palm sugar and served with fresh sliced ripe mango. It is a hot season combination that goes as far back as rice cultivation itself.
In the recipe that follows the sticky rice has a softened texture that perfectly compliments the tangy sweetness of the mango. Traditionally eaten with a spoon in this case for theÂ uninitiated.
Sticky Rice Â Â serves 6
- 1 Â Â Â Â Â cup glutinous rice (Arborio or sushi rice can be substituted)
- 4 1/4 Â Â cups coconut milk Â (availableÂ in Asian markets)
- 1/2 Â Â Â Â teaspoon Salt
- 3 Â Â Â Â Â tablespoons palm sugar (available at Asian markets) or granulated sugar
- 3 Â Â Â Â Â kaffir lime leaves Â (available in Asian markets)
Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer to remove any dust and transferÂ to a bowl. Add water to several inches above the rice. Cover and soak for 6 hours, or overnight.
Rinse the rice and place in large heavy bottomed pot. Add the coconut milk, salt, palm sugar (or white sugar), and kaffir lime leaves and stir to combine. Place over medium heat until the contents begin to boil.Â ImmediatelyÂ turn Â the heat down to the lowest possible level and, if you have one, insert an infuser under the pan. The point is to cook the rice asÂ slowlyÂ as possible without scorching or burning. Â Cut a piece of parchment paper larger than the diameter of the pan and press it right onto the surface of the cooking rice. This will prevent a skin forming on the surface while the rice is cooking. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the rice is very soft and the coconut milk is reduced and quite thick. Remove from the stove and stir to ensure an even texture and allow to cool slightly beforeÂ transferringÂ to a bowl to cool, once again, pressing the parchment paper onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate if not using immediately.
- 3-6 Â Â chilled ripeÂ mangoesÂ , peeled and slicing wedges working around the mango
Serving: Bring the rice to room temperature before serving.Then using a Â 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop with release blade, add 3 scoops of the rice to each serving plate and top with sliced mango.