Recipe: Mango sticky rice with coconut cream

My obsession with Thai food began way before I traveled to Thailand to sample its authentic cuisine. One of my all-time favorites is sticky rice: delicious, glutinous white rice topped with mango and a creamy coconut sauce. Yum! It is the perfect, sweet way to cool off after a spicy Thai meal.

Finding a recipe was actually quite difficult. Many of the recipes I found called for steamed rice (including the authentic recipe that I have from my studies at Classic Home Cooking School in Chiang Mai). Because I do not have a steamer (and I am assuming that the majority of my readers also do not possess one) I wanted to find an authentic recipe which allowed for boiled rice. I ended up combing several recipes into this relatively simple one. NOTE: if you want to serve your sticky rice today: get to soaking your grains! This recipe is simple, but it does require some prep work.

There are several processes which are going on at once in this recipe: you have to make the rice (pretty simple), you have to make a coconut milk mixture which will be added to the rice after it cooks (also super simple), and you have to make the coconut cream which will be poured on top just before serving (equally as easy). Three ridiculously easy steps… yet all of the recipes that I read were very unclear about these three separate processes, which made deciphering the recipe a bit of a difficult task the first time around! Hopefully this recipe will simplify things. 🙂

Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream

You will need:

2 cans of coconut milk, separated into milk and cream (see simple instructions below)

2 cups glutinous rice

1 1/2 cups water

2 large mangoes

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. corn starch

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of salt

black or tan sesame seeds (optional)

Prep work (to be done at least several hours before cooking/serving)

Prepping the rice: rinse the rice and then soak it in cold water for at least three hours (up to 24). This process is crucial: glutinous rice needs to be broken down by the water or it will be tough and chewy instead of sticky.

Prepping the coconut milk and cream: place the coconut milk cans in the refrigerator so that the coconut cream and coconut milk (both are found inside a can labeled “coconut milk”) will separate. (The cold temperature will make the coconut milk and cream separate faster.) Do not shake/disturb them. After at least an hour, open the cans. You will notice that the thick liquid (the coconut cream) has risen to the top; spoon it off into a bowl and leave the clear liquid (the coconut milk) in each of the cans. 1 can will be used as liquid to cook the rice and the other can will be used to make the sweet coconut mixture that will be incorporated into the rice after it cooks. The cream will be used for the coconut cream sauce that is poured over the top just before serving.

While prepping… you might as well cut your mangoes. (A little tip: peel them first and then cut them into slices.)

Cooking instructions:

Drain the water from the rice. Add 1 can of the coconut milk (the clear liquid) to the rice and also add 1  1/2 cups water.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until nearly all of the liquid is gone.

Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to allow the rest of the liquid to soak into the rice.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the coconut milk and sugar mixture:

–  Combine 1 can of the coconut milk with 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla extract and a      pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add just a touch of coconut cream to thicken the sauce and set it aside.

Also while the rice is cooking, prepare the coconut cream mixture:

– Combine the coconut cream with the corn flour (a thickening agent) and a pinch of salt. Set it aside for later.

Once the rice is finished cooking, transfer it to a glass bowl. Pour the coconut milk/sugar mixture over it and using a wooden spoon, stir. Arrange the rice on your serving plate, top with mangoes, and let it cool. (The rice soaks up the mango flavor if you place the mangoes on top while the rice is still warm. I like the mango flavor imparted into the rice.)

Once cooled, pour the coconut cream over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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