Sticky rice flavored with sweet coconut milk and served with fresh mango is a beloved dessert in Thailand. You only have to try it once to understand why it’s a Thai favorite!
When I started testing this recipe, I took one bite and was transported back to Thailand. When mangos were in season in early spring, they would show up at street stalls all over Bangkok. I’d eat plenty on their own, but mango season was also all the excuse I needed to start eating mango sticky rice for dessert at every opportunity. Frank and I learned to make this dessert at a Thai cooking class we took the first weekend after we moved to Bangkok - Bai Pai (that was in 2010 - whaaaat). Sweet rice for dessert may sound strange if you've never had it, but it's one of those desserts in which the parts come together to create some serious magic.
Coconut milk, mango, and starchy sticky rice = Thai dessert magic.
Mango Sticky Rice Ingredients
- Glutinous or “Sweet” Rice – Start with the right variety of rice. It is labeled “glutinous” or “sweet”. Other types of rice (like jasmine rice) will not work.
- Coconut milk - Use full fat coconut milk, not “light” coconut milk.
- Mangos - Look for ripe mangos that are golden in color, smell slightly fruity, and give a bit when pressed. Make sure they aren’t overripe (feel soft or mushy).
- Sugar - Just use regular white / granulated sugar.
Why Does Coconut Milk Separate?
Full fat coconut milk often separates into two layers - the top is a thick coconut cream and the bottom is a thin coconut water. Shake the can or stir the layers together to reconstitute the coconut milk. Sometimes emulsifiers are added which will prevent the coconut milk from separating.
How to Make Mango Sticky Rice
- Make sticky rice on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. (Find detailed instructions here.)
- Stir sweetened coconut milk into the sticky rice. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature so that the sticky rice soaks up all of the coconut milk.
- Prepare toppings - Thickened, sweet coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes are optional but add texture and flavor.
- Slice mangos.
- Combine everything and serve!
Mango Sticky Rice - Warm or Cold?
Either way! Mango sticky rice is great served warm (with freshly made sticky rice) or chilled (with sticky rice made a couple hours ahead of time.
Mango Sticky Rice
- 2 cups Glutinous or “Sweet” Rice (see note)
- 1 cup Coconut flakes
- 2 Mangos, sliced
Sweet Coconut Marinade:
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- ⅓ cup Sugar, white
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
Sweet Coconut Topping:
- ⅓ cup Sugar, white
- ½ teaspoon Cornstarch
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- Measure rice into a bowl and cover with water by a few inches. Soak for 4 to 10 hours.
- Make sweet coconut marinade: Combine 1 cup coconut milk with ⅓ cup sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar dissolves, ~2 minutes. Set aside.
- Make sticky rice: Steam sticky rice on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot by following these instructions. As soon as sticky rice is done, transfer to a bowl and stir in coconut marinade. Cover with a lid, plate, or foil. Set aside for 20 minutes (at room temperature) to let the marinade soak into the sticky rice.
- Toast coconut flakes: Place coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constant, until coconut flakes are lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Make sweet coconut topping: In a small saucepan, combine ⅓ cup sugar with cornstarch. Add ½ cup coconut milk while whisking. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and creamy, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Divide sticky rice and mango between serving plates. Spoon sweet coconut topping and toasted coconut flakes over top.
Life is good when you’re 7 months old and entertained by playing in a laundry basket…
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