When mangoes (mangos?) are in season, I go a bit crazy. I buy them by the flat, then race to eat them all before the fruit flies push me out the door and lock it so they can have them all to themselves. I never cook mangoes, never make smoothies with them, never do anything but peel and eat them. Except for once a year. Once a year, I remember sticky rice and mango and I go out and buy some sticky rice so that I can make this. It's the easiest and most delicious thing, and it's pretty impressive too, I think, for something so simple.
You need sticky rice to make this, and half the battle is finding the right kind. The rest is easy. Sushi rice is not sticky rice. You need to buy rice that is sometimes called sweet rice or glutinous rice. The easiest way to tell is to just have a look at the grains of rice. If they are slightly translucent you've got the wrong rice. Sticky rice is chalk white and opaque before cooking. You do need to soak it before cooking, preferably overnight, so plan ahead!
|Left to right: basmati, medium grain, sticky rice|
Coconut sticky rice with mango
Adapted from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
1½ cups sticky rice
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ripe mangoes
gratuitous black sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Rinse the rice and soak it in fresh water to cover for about 8 hours. You can also soak it in warm water for 2 hours. Drain and place in a metal sieve.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, and balance the sieve on top of the pot. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the sieve. Cover with a lid and steam for about 15 minutes. Now turn the rice over in the sieve so that it steams evenly. You want the rice on the bottom to be on the top and vice versa. Steam for another 10 minutes, then test. When the rice is ready, it will be shiny and sticky (!) and will be cooked all the way through. Remove from heat but leave covered.
- Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, and heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Stir in the rice and cover and let sit for 20-60 minutes so that the rice absorbs all the liquid.
- Peel the mangoes, halve them and slice thickly, either lengthwise or crosswise. As you can see, I couldn't make up my mind. However you do it, the flesh around the pit is the cook's treat.
- To serve, arrange the sticky rice and mango on a platter or in bowls. Serve immediately, as the rice will dry out if exposed to air.