Nancie McDermott’s Thai – Style Sticky Rice with Mangoes
It was such a delight to receive privy information on one of the fabulous Nancie McDermott’s recipes! This one especially hit close to home, as my first experience with mango and sticky rice was at Champa’s Pan Asian restaurant last Spring. I was looking for the red bean ice cream, which was out of season, and my waitress enthusiastically suggested the mango and sticky rice (kao niow mun). Not one to turn down good advice, I ordered it and have been in love with the dish ever since.
The lightness, sweetness, and freshness of this combination is wonderful and the presentation is simply elegant. To be able to make it at home is an exquisite pleasure.
Nancie’s instructions are detailed and just right for those attempting to replicate this cultural treasure.
I’d soaked the rice overnight previously, and was anxious to get started. Heading to a local Asian market, I was able to easily find the Thai-style sticky rice. I was grateful for her distinguishing this from other forms of sticky rice, as they had many different kinds of rice, and the other forms are different grains. She also recommends the Chao Koh brand of coconut milk, for its lack of additives, which I heartily appreciated. Liquid/solid separation is a normal reaction of most natural products, and I’d rather shake it up a little than have extra chemicals in my food!
The equipment was easy to find as well, with the wide and conical rice steaming basket, and the tall, cylindrical, open-mouthed steaming pot stocked together. The one I came across was Diamond Brand, which is made in Thailand, and the whole process of scouting things out was awesome fun!
Upon getting to the checkout line, my unique parcels drew a bit of attention. “What are you making, dear?” asked the senior lady behind me. “Thai style sticky rice with mangoes, from a recipe of a friend of mine,” I replied. I then proceeded to explain the process, and she ended up wanting the recipe. I couldn’t very well blame her!
So as I packed the wares onto my scooter and rode through the busy streets, I was reminded of just how fitting it all was, as this is precisely how many in Southeast Asia make their way home, after eking out a daily living and purchasing their meal-makings at the market.
Arriving in the kitchen, the anticipation was pulsing through my veins as I proceeded to sanitize and set up my very own sticky-rice-making mechanism. I filled the tall pot as cited about 5 inches high, to allow for the water boiling up, but to prevent it from touching the bottom of the conical basket. It was so simple that I could see why it has been so legendary. You cover the rice and steam it, as Nancie says, “in such a way that the steam has to go through the rice to escape into the air.”
And that, my friends, is how delicious magic is made.
While the rice is steaming, it is virtually child’s play to make the coconut sauce. Come to think of it, that is a good task to delegate, if age appropriate. Combining the ingredients, stirring, and letting it gently boil and thicken, I could almost taste the dish I first had all over again, and my mouth began watering. Mmm!
I started slicing the mango and fashioning my setup in some sort of pleasing manner, and before I knew it, the rice was done. It was a great suggestion to lay it out while hot, and push and pull the grains to ensure even carry-over cooking. Frankly, with the rice, the sauce, and the mango, it is really quite perfect. If one must dress it up, consider a smattering of lime zest and some mint or lime leaves or even a few sesame seeds, as some of the pros may choose to do.
And proceed to be enraptured…
Check out Nancie’s latest book coming out soon, or revisit some favorites, like Quick and Easy Thai!
From Deelish! and friend, Nancie McDermott
This recipe copyright @NancieMcDermott, 2014. All rights reserved.