The theme of today’s blog post is “why?”.
Why is sticky rice sticky?
Have you ever asked yourself this particular question?
Here’s the down-low.
Sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice (stop panicking – despite the word “glutinous”, this rice contains no gluten – and speaking of gluten – you don’t need to avoid it unless you have an intolerance or sensitivity to it, but I digress…), contains amylopectin, a slightly water-soluble component of starch, which begins to break down when it comes into contact with hot water. The word “hot” has been bolded because the reaction by which amylopectin breaks apart is 100% heat-dependent. Hot water basically alters the molecular structure of sushi rice making it soft, glue-like and mushy – just the way we crave it.
Today I bring you flavours straight from Thailand, more specifically, I bring you khao neeo mamuang. This is a thick and soft rice pudding with a prominent coconut taste, an extremely creamy texture (low-fat coconut milk is a no-no for this recipe), brightened up with coconut chunks which crank up the lusciousness factor. Ripe Ataulfo mangoes are used as they are buttery and less fibrous in texture.
Why are Ataulfo mangoes called Ataulfo mangoes?
What are now known as Ataulfo mangoes used to grow on Mexican land that belonged to a gentleman who went by the name of Mr. Manuel Rodriguez, until tables turned (gasp!) and it was purchased by a jeweler named Mr. Ataulfo Morales. As mango trees began to attract people’s attention, they began to be scientifically studied, and in these scientific studies’ reports, the mangoes were referred to as “Ataulfo” mangoes. And the name just stuck. The rest is history.
This recipe will make your sweet tooth squeal like a little piglet. However, it must be pointed out that there is very minimal added sugar and its natural sweetness is thanks to the sweet-as-honey mangoes and coconut milk.
Armed with this knowledge, let’s proceed to making this authentic-tasting dessert. Why? Because it is very pleasing to the sense of taste.
Khao Neeo Mamuang (a.k.a. Authentic-Tasting Thai, Mango & Coconut Sticky Rice)
- 1 1/2 cup sushi rice (also known as glutinous or sticky rice), uncooked (requires 3 1/2 cups of water for cooking)
- 250 ml organic coconut milk (remember, low-fat coconut milk is not recommended for this recipe)
- 2-3 ripe Ataulfo mangoes (you will know they are ripe when they have a slight give to the touch)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, for decoration
- Coconut flakes, also for decoration
- Soak sushi rice for at least 3 hours, then rinse and drain.
- Cook rice in 3 1/2 cups of water with the 1/4 tsp. of salt for 15-30 minutes or until rice has had enough to “drank”, a.k.a. all water is soaked up.
- During this time, add coconut sugar to coconut milk and heat on low-medium heat, stirring often (note: do not bring to a boil). Do so until sugar is well dissolved in coconut milk. Once sugar is well dissolved, set aside.
- Cut off the 2 outer cheeks of each mango and cut to your liking (either cube or slice them).
- Once rice is cooked, allow to cool.
- Portion a mound of rice onto your plate and drizzle with the coconut/sugar sauce.
- Serve with pieces of mango.
- Top with shredded coconut and black sesame seeds.
A popular classic that can be found on the menu in many restaurants in Thailand. Full moon party not included.
Until next time, stay healthy! 🙂