Thai sticky rice dessert (vegan)

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to Thai sticky rice dessert and mangoes. When we were in Thailand and Laos this winter I basically lived on mangoes and sticky rice. One time I bought 5 kilos of mangoes and ate them all in a day. You might say “OK, I get mangoes, but sticky rice?” I admit, it is really hard to understand the love for this rice if you’ve never had it. Sticky rice is such a simple meal yet it is so flavorful!

Imagine the smell of a really good pastry wafting through the streets in the morning when everyone is just waking up. Now add just a hint of jasmine. This is what sticky smells like when it is being steamed. Now imagine waking up to the sound of Thai or Laotian women talking in their soft song-like language, the scent of coconut and mango, and the sight on a bamboo basket full of delicious rice. And coffee. Oh, my, God! Heaven!
Ever since our trip to Laos and Thailand I’ve been missing the rice itself, but specifically, the most popular dessert in Thailand/Laos region; mango sticky rice. The rice in this dessert is mixed with coconut milk and sugar. It is topped with fresh mango. It really does taste like angels are having a party in your mouth.

I attempted to make the dessert with Korean sticky rice and it turned out just like the dessert I so lusted for.

Ingredients:

1 cup of sticky rice (sweet rice or 잡쌀 in Korean. You can get it in any Asian food store), washed, and soaked for 24 hours

1 can of coconut milk

1 mango. I didn’t have mangoes but I  did have canned jackfruit. I rinsed the jackfruit to get rid of excess sugary syrup (trying to be healthy here!) Besides, jackfruit is super sweet naturally. Jackruit has similar taste and texture to mango but it is even sweeter, if that’s possible.

3 tbsp local honey/other sweetener

Directions:

1. Wash the rice until the water runs clean. Soak it for 24 hours. This will get rid of excess starch from the rice.

2. Set up a steaming device. It can be as simple as a strainer over a pot of water. Do not use one of those vegetable steamers because the rice has to be at least 2-3 inches above water for a proper steam and texture.

3. Steam the rice (covered) in the device for 15 minutes, flip the rice and steam again. The rice will now turn an off-white color and become transparent.

4. While the rice is steaming prepare your  sauce. Add  the coconut milk into a sauce pan. Add the sweetener and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a few minutes then reduce the heat. Cook the sauce until it has thickened up and reduced to half the volume. I used some of the syrup from the jackfruit can as sweetener. As a result, the sauce got really thick from the sugar in the syrup. Reserve 1/4 of the sauce for topping. Cool slightly.

5. If you’re using canned fruit, rinse the fruit to get rid of access sugar. If you’re using fresh fruit, this is the time to peel and prepare the fruit.

6. When the rice is done, let it cool slightly. Mix the rice and the sauce in the sauce pan just until they are combined. Set aside.

7. To serve, measure out some rice into a small bowl. Invert the bowl onto a serving plate for presentation. Arrange the fruit and drip some sauce on top.

YUM YUM YUM!

This isn’t a particularly healthy dessert but it’s not that bad either! If you’re using fresh fruit, you’re only adding a little bit of sweetener and everything else is whole foods. Sure, the rice is white, but this is dessert and we can spoil ourselves once in a while.

If dessert is not your thing, just steam the rice and have fun eating with your hands Thai/Laotian style; they roll rice into balls and dip it in whatever meal they are having. Delicious and fun!

Chris and I are going to Japan tomorrow so there will not be any posts on the blog for the next two weeks.  I will try to remember to take lots of picture of the food we’ll be eating and will make a blog post about food in Japan upon our return.

Keep smiling and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Maria

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