This simple and sublime dessert is popular, in one form or another, all over South East Asia. Various fruits can go with it – typically mango, jackfruit, or durian. It is also sometimes eaten with palm sugar syrup, with thick coconut milk and a pinch of salt, sprinkled with sesame, or served with a type of coconut milk custard called sankhaya.
You can even serve it with sweetened or unsweetened cream. In Thailand, where it is known as Khao Neow Mamuang it is eaten not just as a dessert, but as a sweet afternoon snack, or any time. Serves 4.
2 cups sticky (glutinous) white rice, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained
1¼ cups coconut milk, one 400ml can
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large ripe mangoes
2 tablespoons coconut milk to serve mint leaves to decorate
Combine the rice, coconut milk, salt and sugar in an uncovered saucepan with 1¼ cups of water. Stir and bring to the boil over moderate heat.
Simmer the rice, stirring, for about 8-10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and leave it to stand for 5 minutes.
Transfer the rice to a steamer or double saucepan, and steam it for 15-20 minutes.
Spoon the hot steamed sticky rice into 6-8 individual ramekins or individual pudding moulds lined with plastic wrap and set them aside to cool.
Serve: unmould the rice and place one portion in the centre of each dessert plate. Arrange the mango around it, and drizzle the rice with the reserved coconut milk. Garnish with mint leaves.
Note: as an alternative serving suggestion, press the warm rice evenly into a tray lined with plastic wrap, and when cold cut into diamond-shaped pieces.