Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

I first had this Asian dessert at a 4th of July picnic. I thought I ate several portions covertly without anyone noticing my silent love affair at the end of the patio table...but apparently the hostess noticed because she sent me home with all the remaining portions! I blushed a little at being found out, but felt lucky that the largely white crowd couldn't imagine how indulgently delicious this rice dessert tasted. More for me....

Following is the recipe I came up with, but first a note on sticky rice. Until I made this recipe, I had never used sticky rice and required a bit of a crash course in rice varieties. My family normally eats sweet jasmine rice (a long-grain Thai rice) and I thought, "That's sticky, isn't it?" It's a good thing I did some research, though, because the first thing I read was, "Jasmine rice is not sticky rice."

Off I ran to my favorite grocery store (shout out to PCC!!!) to stare at their bins of bulk rice. Surely one would say "Sticky Rice." No such luck. I saw brown and white varieties of jasmine, basmati, calrose, sushi, arborio, and on and on. But nothing so easily identified as "sticky." After consulting a clerk, it seemed that sushi rice was what I wanted.

Bounding home with my purchase, I carefully constructed my recipe. My mouth watered as I took my first mouthful only to be a little disappointed---sushi rice wasn't really what I was looking for after all. (I love you, PCC, but I guess I should have known better...I should have gone to the Asian market!)

I consulted my research again...oh!!! sticky rice is also called "sweet" or "glutinous" rice. More clues! This time I perused Uwajimaya, my favorite local Asian market. And there it was---labeled as Sweet Rice. The grains are small and almost round. Off to create sticky rice magic!

2 cups sticky (sweet/glutinous) rice--soaked for at least 3 hours or overnight. You cannot skip the soaking, so plan ahead!!!!
1 1/4 c (about 10 oz) thick coconut milk
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 mangos

1/2 c thin (lite) coconut milk
2 TB sugar
a pinch of salt

Drain the rice by pouring through a length of cheesecloth. Wrap the drained rice in the cheesecloth and place in your steamer basket. Place basket over a few inches of boiling water, cover, and steam for 20 minutes. Rice becomes almost translucent when cooked.

Mix the thick coconut milk, sugar, and salt together.

When rice is done, put it in a bowl and add the milk mixture while the rice is still hot. Combine thoroughly and let it rest for 30-50 minutes so that the rice has time to absorb the milk.

Mix the sauce ingredients together. Peel and slice the mangos. Place on top of the sticky rice. Pour the sauce over the mangos.

Start salivating, take a bite, and savor the sweet/salty/creamy flavor of this exotic treat!

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