Thai Sticky Rice Recipe


Xôi xoài Thái Lan, in Vietnamese, literally translates to “mango sticky rice from Thailand”. It’s a very popular dessert in Asia; steamed sticky is rice covered in sweetened, fragrant coconut milk and paired with freshly-cut mangoes, then drizzled with thick, syrupy coconut sauce and sprinkled with lightly toasted sesame seeds.

My husband’s teenage sisters spent last month in Asia. I was surprised when they got back that they asked for this sweet treat, because it’s such an easy, common Asian dessert.

It really satisfied their craving and I hope it brought back good memories of their time on the beaches of Thailand and Vietnam.

1. Info for Thai Sticky Rice Recipe

  • Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 50 mins
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 200kcal

2. Ingredients for Thai Sticky Rice Recipe

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk, unshaken
  • 1 cup sweet round rice (see tips)
  • 2 green cardamom pods (optional), unshelled and finely ground
  • 1 pandan leaf , thawed and tied in a knot
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 ripe alphonso mangoes
  • 4 fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

3. Directions:

3.1 Cooking the rice

Wash and rinse the rice thoroughly in several water baths (about three times). Place in a large bowl, cover with cold water. Soak for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Drain as much water as possible.

Line the basket of a steamer with cheesecloth and place the rice in it. Fill the steamer with water. Cover tightly. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cover and steam for about 20 minutes. The rice should be soft, shiny and on the dry side but still firm (not falling apart). Remove from the steamer.

3.2 For the coconut milk

Pour the coconut milk (the thick part, preferably) into a small, non-stick saucepan. Add the palm sugar, ground cardamom (if using), salt and pandan leaf tied in a knot. Bring to a boil. Add the jasmine extract. Stir well. Transfer the hot rice to a non-stick pan and cover it entirely with the boiling coconut milk (it should be saturated with coconut milk). Do not stir. Cover with the cheesecloth (I placed chopsticks underneath so the fabric doesn’t touch the rice) and let sit for 20 minutes. Uncover and let sit for an additional 10 minutes. Using the chopsticks, delicately separate the grain of rice, ensuring the coconut milk is completely absorbed.

Prepping the mango: This is the method I use when peeling a mango so as not to get the pulp all mashed and mushy. Using a sharp knife, trim the end. Stand it up on end and peel one side while holding the fruit with the other end. Delicately slice off the first half from the top to bottom around the pit. Transfer the lobe to a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter, form 4 small oval shapes from the 4 lobes (we’ll use them as “stands” for the sticky rice) and dice the rest into ¼” cubes. Flip the fruit and repeat the same procedure on the other side. Do not apply any pressure to the flesh with your fingers to prevent the fruit from bruising; that way the pulp won’t be mashed up or damaged.

3.3 Assembly time

Place a piece of the oval shaped mango onto an individual plate. Top the piece of mango with a “quenelle” of sticky rice: using 2 tablespoons, gather one portion of the mixture in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat between the 2 spoons until the mound is tightly packed. Slide the mound of rice onto the top of the mango. Arrange the diced mango on the side and drizzle a little bit of the thick, syrupy coconut sauce on the side.

Serve the dessert garnished with fresh mint leaves and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Bon appétit!

4. Tips and advices:

  • A pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the sticky rice dessert and enhances its sweetness.
  • You could also boil the rice for 15 minutes but the result will be slightly wet compared to the steaming method.
  • You can find delicious sweet sticky rice in any market. I used Kokuho Rose brand.
  • You can find all the ingredients listed above in most Asian markets.
  • How to make coconut milk sauce: In a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. In a small saucepan, add 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a near boil. Lower the heat, then add the dissolved cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring constantly. As soon as the sauce thickens, turn off the heat. Voilà!

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