Thai mango sticky rice (Khao Niaow Ma Muang in Thai) is one of the reasons why I love going to Thai restaurants in Singapore. Of course, Thai food is a close second in my list of favourite cuisines (first is Indian food, in case you had any doubts) and I love Thai soups and salads and curries, but mango sticky rice is what I thank them for the most.
For those who haven’t tried this popular Thai dessert, it’s this beautiful pairing of fresh ripe Thai honey mango slices with sticky glutinous rice cooked in sweetened coconut milk. The combination works fabulously and I could eat just this for a meal if I was allowed to have my way.
Every summer during mango season, I tell myself I will make this dessert this year when the Thai honey mangoes flood the markets and are cheapest. They also need to be very ripe and sweet for it them to pair well with the sticky rice. I postponed it for 3 years and finally made it this year.
Table of Contents
The colour of the cooked rice in my pictures looks a bit brownish because I used raw sugar to sweeten the sticky rice. If you use white sugar, the rice will look lovely and bright so try it that way if you can.
White glutinous rice or sweet rice – The rice used for mango sticky rice is called ‘glutinous rice’ on the packets in Singapore supermarkets and is white and opaque, crumbling easily as you bite into a grain. It cooks into a chewy texture which is delightful in this dessert. I picked mine up from the Chinese dry food section. Using the correct rice is important to make Thai mango sticky rice.
Coconut milk – Use packaged coconut milk for ease and convenience. I normally buy regular coconut milk (not coconut cream and not the light version) and dilute it with equal parts water to get the thin coconut milk required to cook the rice in. If you can find a Thai brand of coconut milk, even better. I would recommend Roi Thai if you can find it where you live.
Mangoes – Use fresh, ripe, Thai honey mangoes if you can. They are long and their skin turns a deep golden yellow when fully ripe. You can see them in my pictures to get an idea.
Salt and sugar – are both important to get the flavour of the rice right. Add a bit more salt than you think you need, it enhances the flavour and also brings out the sweetness of the rice / coconut milk combination.
More About Mango Stick Rice
Mango sticky rice is considered a summer dessert due to mangoes being in season and easily available during that time. However, Thai mangoes are much more widely available these days so you can make this dish year round.
Once considered a popular street food, mango sticky rice is now easily available in most Thai restaurants and an integral part of any good menu. It’s quite easy to make at home and really a treat.
Thai Mango Sticky Rice Recipe
- 1/2 cup glutinous rice
- 1/2 cup thin coconut milk see notes
- 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
- 2 tbsp coconut cream optional
- 3 tbsp sugar adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 ripe mango preferably Thai honey mango
- 2 tsp white sesame seeds toasted, for garnish
- Soak the rice for 30 minutes in 2 cups water.
- Add the thin coconut milk to it (do not drain the soaking water).
- Simmer on a low flame until the rice is cooked and soft. You can add some more water if the rice gets too dry while cooking.
- The rice will become quite mushy as it cooks and gets softer.
- Meanwhile, simmer the thick coconut milk with the sugar and salt on very low flame until it starts to bubble up.
- Add this to the cooked rice and mix well.
- Keep covered for 15-30 mins until the rice has fully absorbed the coconut milk mixture.
- You can check for sweetness at this time and add more sugar if needed.
- Serve the rice warm with chilled mango pieces with some drizzling of coconut cream on top (if using) and some toasted sesame seeds.
- The recipe is quite forgiving in water and coconut milk quantities so adjust as you go, to get the right consistency
- The amount of sugar and salt is important to get a good balance in the flavour of the rice
- Use fresh, ripe mangoes for the dish, that totally makes or breaks the flavour and how the rice and mangoes taste when combined
- To get thin coconut milk, mix regular packaged coconut milk with equal parts water.
- You can also add toasted or fried yellow moong beans as a garnish instead of or along with sesame seeds
Step by Step Pictures to Make Thai Mango Sticky Rice
1. Soak the rice for 30 minutes and add the thin coconut milk to it (do not drain the soaking water). Simmer on a low flame until the rice is cooked and soft. You can add some water if the rice gets too dry while cooking.
It will become quite mushy as it cookes and gets softer.
2. Meanwhile, simmer the thick coconut milk with the sugar and salt on very low flame…
… until it starts to bubble up.
3. Add this to the cooked rice
Mix well to combine
4. Keep covered for 15-30 mins until the rice has fully absorbed the coconut milk mixture.
You can check for sweetness at this time and add more sugar if needed.
That’s it! Serve the rice warm with chilled mango pieces with some drizzling of coconut cream on top (if using) and some sesame seeds or roasted mung beans.