My first attempt at making mango sticky rice was a complete disaster.
I started by dumping an entire can of coconut milk into my rice cooker with some jasmine rice and pressing “cook”. I figured, Thai cooking is easy, so coconut sticky rice should be as easy as that, right? Umm, not quite, I realized, as I dumped the gloppy mess of uncooked rice into the trash…
After that disheartening experience, I decided to learn how to make mango sticky rice the right way. And it turns out that it is pretty simple, just not in the way that I had thought!
To make the sticky rice, you first have to start with Thai sticky rice (also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice). Although this may seem painfully obvious to you, it wasn’t to me initially. The sticky rice is soaked for several hours and then steamed over a pot of boiling water with a traditional Thai steamer basket. Only after the rice is cooked do you add the coconut milk with a little sugar and some salt mixed in it. As the rice sits in this mixture, it soaks up the wonderfully sweet and slightly salty coconut sauce so that each grain of rice is permeated with this flavor.
Once you’ve made the sticky rice, this dessert is pretty simple to assemble. You just place a spoonful of the rice on your plate and then slice a mango into diagonal segments to its side. The key here is to use a perfectly ripe mango whose flesh is sweet and smooth. I prefer the Ataulfo (champagne) mangoes, but any variety that is ripe and sweet should work well. Then you spoon another little bit of the coconut sauce on top, sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, and before you know it, you have one of Thailand’s most popular desserts!
I love that once you know how to make sticky rice properly, this dessert is so easy to make. And I’m hoping that by sharing this recipe here, I can save you from rice cooker disasters like mine!