Thai Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Neow Ma Muang): This nationally acclaimed Thai dessert is made from sweet glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and topped with ripe mangoes, a sweet treat for any occasion!
My husband had a job posting in Thailand for about 8 years, so I spent much of those years shuttling between Singapore and Thailand, spending up to 6 months in each year in Thailand. It was easy to fall in love with Thai people, Thai culture, the Thai language and of course the ‘Aroy Mak Mak’ Thai food, and I have so many fond memories and treasured friendships from our time there.
In the months ahead, I will start to compile and share on this blog the many authentic Thai dishes that I have learnt as a result of my ‘immersion’ in the Thai culture. Today I will be sharing the recipe for my favourite Thai Mango Sticky Rice. I’m also working on another favourite recipe – Thai Pineapple Rice served in a Pineapple Boat – which should be ready by the end of the week, so please look out for it!
The Origin of the Dish
The Thais are well known for all sort of brilliant and colourful desserts that one finds hard to resist. The people who live in the North or Northeastern part of Thailand are usually farmers. Their main staple food is the Thai Sticky Rice (Sweet Glutinous Rice) as eating this will keep them full throughout the day while they labor in the field.
Thai mango sticky rice is made from this sweet glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and topped with ripe mangoes. If you go to Thailand , this is a must-try national specialty dessert which is well known throughout the world. I am sure that you will fall in love with this exotic Thai dessert.
Whenever I go to Thailand this is one of the first things I will eat. And its also one of the first few Thai recipes that I learnt, so that I can prepare it for my family each time upon their request. However, one thing to note is that we can only make this during the mango season when the mangoes are ripe and sweet, otherwise it will ruin the whole dessert. The best mango to use for this sticky rice dessert is the Thai Honey Mango. So be patient and wait for the right season!
Variations on the Dish
If you are serving this in canape portions for parties, you can try to make them in the shape of sushi to surprise your guests! And let’s see how many people are sharp enough to realise what type of ‘sushi’ this is 🙂
If you can get your hands on good durians, Durian Sticky rice is another idea that you can try out! In Thai, this is called Khao Neow Tuk Rian ( Khao= Rice, Neow= Sticky, Tuk Rian=Durian).
Hope you enjoy this recipe, and please leave me a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for me!
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Vegan: No modifications needed.
- Vegetarian: No modifications needed
- 1 Cup Glutinous Rice
- 6 Pandan Leaves 3 for steaming the rice, 3 for the coconut mixture for soaking the rice in
- 180 ml Coconut Cream Kara Brand preferred
- 60 ml Water
- 70-75 gm Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 big Honey Mango Chilled
- 20-25 gm Yellow Mung Beans Preferably soaked overnight (or at the very least 2 hours)
- 70 ml Coconut Milk
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Tapioca Flour / Cornflour
- Thai Steaming Basket
- Tall Pot with a narrow opening
Wash the mung beans thoroughly and soak overnight (or at the very least 2 hours). Drain and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Wash the glutinous rice a few times to get rid of the starch and soak for 30 mins.
Wash the pandan leaves and cut into 10 cm in length or tie into a knot.
Add water into the tall pot with a narrow opening and bring it to a boil.
Drain off the water from the soaked rice and put it into the steaming basket. Place the pandan leaves on top of the rice. (Expert Tip: Wet the steaming basket first to prevent sticking!)
Place the steaming basket on the tall pot and cover the rice with a cover. Steam the rice over high heat for about 30 mins. Make sure there is sufficient water in the pot to produce enough steam to cook the rice.
While the rice is steaming, pour 180ml coconut cream and 60ml water into a sauce pan. Add in 70-75 gm of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and pandan leaves. Stir and mix well. Heat the coconut mixture over medium low heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. (Be careful not boil the coconut mixture vigorously)
When the rice is cooked, remove the pandan leaves and pour the rice onto a big bowl. Loosen the rice gently with a fork or chopsticks.
When the coconut mixture starts to bubble, remove the pandan leaves and quickly pour over the glutinous rice and mix well and make sure it is not lumpy.
Cover the bowl with an aluminium foil and leave aside and let it stand for 30 mins. Half way through, just give the rice a stir and mix well and continue to let it stand. In the meantime, prepare the coconut sauce and mung bean topping (cooking method below).
After 30 mins, you should be done with the coconut sauce and mung bean topping. Remove the aluminium foil and give the rice a stir with chopsticks to loosen it.
Scoop the rice on a serving plate. Cut the mango in a crisscross fashion and place by the side of the rice. Note: You can also peel the mango and cut into slices if you prefer.
Pour the coconut sauce over the sticky rice. Sprinkle the mung beans on top of the sauce and serve.
Put the mung beans in a pan and fry over medium heat stirring it constantly until it turns golden and crispy. Alternatively you can bake them at 200 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes, or fry them in an air fryer at 160 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes until crispy. If need be, a little salt can be added to it.
Add 70ml of coconut cream, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp tapioca flour (or cornflour) into a small sauce pan. Mix until well incorporated.
Put the sauce pan over low heat and cook the sauce, stirring it constantly until it thickens. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce into a serving jug.
- Nowadays there is no need to soak the glutinous rice overnight, as was the case in the past. Just soaking it for 30-40 mins is sufficient.
- You must use glutinous rice, not normal white rice. You can also use black glutinous rice but you need to soak it for a longer time (overnight would be preferred), and increase the cooking time as black glutinous rice is harder to cook.
- Before using the steaming basket, wet it thoroughly to prevent the rice from sticking to it. Or you can line it with cheesecloth too.
- If you do not have the special equipment that I am using, fret not. You can use a baking tin lined with cheesecloth. Place the rice on it and steam over high heat for 30 mins.
- Do not over-steam the rice otherwise it will become soggy. It should be grainy and shiny after it is cooked.
- Do not worry when the rice seems inundated with the coconut mixture after it is poured over the rice when cooked. The rice should be able to absorb all the coconut mixture after 30 mins.
- If you want the sticky rice to have a softer or harder texture, you can adjust the amount of coconut mixture added to it accordingly.
- Thai honey mangoes are the best type of mangos to go with Thai sticky rice. If the mango is unripe and sour, it will ruin the dish completely, so it is better to check if the mangoes are available before making this dessert.
- Please adjust the sweetness of the sticky rice according to your preference.
- Kara brand Coconut Cream is also called santan, which is the top layer of very concentrated coconut cream. This is the reason for adding in the water.
- If you are using freshly squeezed coconut milk for the coconut mixture, there is no need to add water. Simple use 240ml coconut milk.
- I prefer to use Kara brand Coconut Cream for this dessert. I tried using the Heng Guan Fresh Coconut Milk before but it makes the rice slightly brownish in colour which is not so attractive. However, Heng Guan Fresh Coconut Milk is good for cooking curry and food which where the colour is not so important and when it is important to use the fresh rather than UHT version.
- Do not boil the coconut milk vigorously otherwise it will curdle and you will have to do it all over again.
- You can also use durian instead of mango. This is called Khao Neow Tuk Rian ( Khao= Rice, Neow= Sticky, Tuk Rian=Durian).