One of my favorite cooking experiments is to try to recreate our restaurant favorites at home. We discovered coconut sticky rice at a local Thai restaurant and I have to admit that I refused to look for any recipes for it for several years. I was certain that we would fix it *too* often and end up regretting it. For the first month after I nailed down the recipe, we actually did fix it far too often. But now that it is more familiar to us, we can control it more. ;o)
The sticking point (pun intended) with making sticky rice in the average American home kitchen is that we don't have the equipment or the time to do it properly. Authentic sticky rice involves soaking the rice for a long time, then steaming it in a special bamboo steamer. Not gonna happen in my kitchen.
The recipes below are my take on this classic dish. I am very sure it isn't Thai-approved, but I am equally sure it is DELICIOUS!!
The first is more authentic; but the second is my favorite because the first place I tried this dish used jasmine
rice, so that is what tastes "right" to me.
Additionally, this is just thick rice pudding. So you can make it with whatever
rice you have in your cabinet to see if you like the base flavor before buying a
package of foreign rice. If you want to try the authentic rice, the only place
I've been able to find it consistently in Louisville is at the Asian grocers. Ask for sticky, sweet or glutinous rice - it is very short
grained, almost like a pearl. You can *sometimes* find it at Meijer or Whole
Foods....but you can ALWAYS find it at the Asian market. Also, some rices are
less sticky than others, so if it turns out too loose (it is supposed to set up
into a solid mass), just call it coconut rice pudding and go with it - it really
is delicious even if it doesn't set.
My favorite topping is salted coconut milk and canned mango. The canned variety
creamier, milder and less acidic, which is more like the actual Thai mangoes
than the fresh mango we can get a the grocery. Thai places around here
apparently special order Thai mangoes, but they are only available for a short
period. You can have canned all year long! But you can also top it with
custard, banana, other fruits or nothing at all. You can also play around with
The only thing I would recommend NOT to play around with is the coconut milk.
Light coconut milk really isn't a good substitute in this recipe. Get the real
full-fat coconut milk (canned, in the Asian foods aisle).
OK, strictly speaking, traditional sticky rice is steamed in a basket. This is
the microwave version. :o)
1/4 C sugar
1C sticky rice
1 C coconut milk
Put sticky rice in a glass or ceramic microwaveable bowl and add enough warm
water to just cover the rice. Let soak for 10 minutes. After soaking, put the
bowl on a place to catch spills and cover the bowl with a dish (plastic wrap
will melt) and cook on high for 3 minutes. Carefully remove and stir the rice -some will be translucent and some will still have a white uncooked center. Cook
covered for another 3 minutes and stir it again. The rice is cooked when all of
the grains are translucent. Depending on your microwave, you may have to cook
it a few more minutes.
Heat the coconut milk over medium heat until it simmers, stirring frequently.
Add sugar and salt.
When the rice is cooked through, pour 3/4 of the coconut milk mixture over it
and let stand 5 minutes. Stir and spoon into small dishes, ramekins or forms.
Cool to room temperature and serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk.
**Tip** I line my dishes with Saran Wrap before spooning in the coconut
mixture. It sets up as it cools. When ready for service, I unmold them onto a
plate and top with coconut milk and mango. Very pretty!! They keep fairly well
in the fridge if you top them with plastic wrap. Just warm them up a bit before
serving - you want them room temp or barely warm. The perfect serving size is
about 3/4 if a cup, (about a handful). It looks small, but this is a very
thick, sweet and rich dessert.
After trying many variations, this is the one we prefer.
1 C jasmine rice
1 (14oz) can coconut milk
1/2 C white sugar
1 can mango, sliced
Reserve 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a small bowl.
Put 1 cup of the coconut milk in a small sauce pan with the sugar.
Cook jasmine rice in a pot according to the package directions, using any
remaining coconut milk place of some of the cooking water.
While the rice is cooking, salt the small bowl of coconut milk. It should taste
noticeably salty, but not quite as briny as sea water.
Heat the sugar and coconut milk over medium heat until the sugar is melted. Do
When the rice is cooked, stir in the sweet coconut milk and spoon into serving
dishes (same as the recipe above).
Once it has cooled to near room temperature, it is ready to serve. Same as
above, you can serve it in the bowl or you can unmold it onto a dessert plate.
Either way, cover the top with sliced mango and drizzle with the salted coconut
I realize after typing all this that it sounds fussy. You do have to learn to
finesse it, but you really can't screw it up...and after the first couple times,
you will be a pro. :o)