Mango is officially the fruit of this summer (as voted by me) and I can’t stop making mango desserts. So far we’ve made giant mango mochi several times, mango sago has been on repeat in this household, and mango pancakes made its triumphant annual return. I’m now adding mango sticky rice to my mango dessert repertoire and I’m so happy that I now have four trusty mango recipes up my sleeve. Well, technically five if we want to include this mango tart from 2017 but I like to hide everything I made before 2020 because am I human if I’m not constantly trying to hide things from my past?
There are three main components to mango sticky rice: ripe mangoes, chewy sticky rice, and a sweet-and-salty coconut sauce. Mangoes are at their best right now so most mango you find at the store will be perfect for mango sticky rice. I like using ataulfo mangoes the best (they’re the most ‘mango-ey’ in my opinion) but you can use your favourite kind. The mango is fanned out across sticky rice flavoured with some of the coconut sauce. The remaining coconut sauce is then thickened with a bit of flour and poured on top of the dessert right before serving. The dessert is sweet, salty, and really shows off why mangoes are one of the best fruits.
Mango sticky rice is not a dessert I commonly have but whenever I do have it, I’m reminded that it’s a top tier dessert and I should be allowing myself to experience this type of joy more often. So now instead of lying to myself and the restaurant server by saying I’m too full to look at the dessert menu, I’m going to order the damn mango sticky rice and enjoy every bit of it. I’m also going to teach myself how to make it so I’m not limiting myself to this joy only inside a restaurant. And that is how this recipe and post came to be.
I’ve never made mango sticky rice before this year and the first few iterations of this recipe were honestly quite… awful. Not fully inedible type of awful, but I would be embarrassed to serve this to anyone but my parents (sorry you had to eat the working versions, mom and dad!). Half a bag of sticky rice and a dozen mangoes later, I’m happy to report back that mango sticky rice is now part of my dessert repertoire. The major change that makes this current recipe better than the previous versions is the texture of the sticky rice. A ripe and juicy mango is the star of the sticky rice show but the texture of the rice can also make or break the dish. I was previously cooking the rice on the stovetop as per the directions on the back of packaging of the rice but even with several tweaks, it was never as perfect as I wanted to be. It would become a bit too soft and sticky. The rice grains would be quite congealed and form a giant mass when pressed into a bowl. I decided to abandon the instructions that came with the sticky rice and cook it as per my dad’s recommendation: steaming. Steaming the rice ensures that the rice wouldn’t be overcooked and each grain remained perfectly separate but still sticky. It was the perfect texture for mixing with coconut milk to form the base for mango sticky rice.
The only thing about steaming sticky rice is that it requires more planning than cooking it on the stovetop. Cooking over the stove top didn’t require (as much of) soaking of the rice prior to cooking, while steaming sticky rice requires the rice to be soaked for a couple of hours prior to steaming. It’s a very hands-off process after washing the rice (wash your rice, people!) so it’s worth it in my opinion. Plan ahead of time and you’ll be awarded with the most perfect mango sticky rice.
Mango Sticky Rice
- 2/3 cup glutinous/sticky rice
- 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 large mango , peeled, cut into slices
- In a large bowl, wash sticky rice in cold water until the water runs clear.
- Soak washed rice in cold water for 4 hours.
- Line a large steamer basket with a damp cloth. Transfer soaked rice to the lined steamer basket, evenly distributing the rice across the surface. Lay the edges of the damp cloth on top of the rice and place the lid on the steamer basket.
- Steam the rice over medium heat for 40 minutes, until the sticky rice is fully cooked.
- At the 30 minute mark, start making the coconut sauce.
- In a small pot over low heat, combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Bring mixture to a light simmer, stirring the mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Once sticky rice is ready, transfer rice from steamer to a large bowl. Add half of the coconut milk mixture to the rice and stir. Let the rice absorb the coconut milk for 20 minutes, covered.
- Return the remaining coconut milk mixture to the stove and add cornstarch to the sauce. Over low heat, stir the mixture until the cornstarch is mixed in and starts to thicken, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
- Transfer rice to a small bowl and flip over onto a serving plate. Transfer cut mango on top of the rice. Pour coconut sauce on top of the dessert and top with black sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately. (This is plated to be shared, or you can plate it as two separate portions)