Learn how to make mango sticky rice at home, THE EASIEST WAY. In this recipe, I will show you how to make the perfect sticky rice with less soaking time. Serve with fresh sweet mangoes and creamy coconut sauce.
What is Mango Sticky Rice?
Mango sticky rice is a popular dessert in South East Asia that originated in Thailand. It is known as a "summer dessert" as it is particularly abundant during mango season. It's made of sweetened sticky rice served with yellow ripe mangoes and coconut cream sauce.
Why you'll love this recipe
This is not the traditional way of making mango sticky rice but it sure is the easiest way.
You will love this because:
- The sticky rice is soft, and gooey but firm to the bite. Not mushy!
- You only need 30 minutes of soaking, not 4 hours or overnight soaking.
- The coconut cream sauce is less sweet than most recipes. Totally adjustable depending on your preference.
- You can make this in a regular stove-stop steamer, bamboo steamer, and even with the steamer insert of your rice cooker!
No need to run to your favorite Thai restaurant anymore. Make this traditional Thai dessert at home!
Here's what you need to make mango sticky rice:
The best mangoes for mango sticky rice are sweet mangoes, particularly authentic Thai mangoes or Philippine mangoes. They're soft, juicy, and have less fiber. You can find these in most supermarkets or Asian grocery stores.
Glutinous rice is also known as sticky rice or sweet rice. As its name suggests, it's gluey and sticky in texture and has a hint of sweetness compared to regular white rice. You can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores, online, or in Asian supermarkets. I used Thai sticky rice specifically for this recipe.
Coconut Cream Sauce
To make the coconut sauce, you will need:
Coconut Milk - freshly extracted coconut milk has the best flavor. But if you're in the U.S. or in a non-tropical country, fresh coconut milk will definitely be hard to find. Thus, canned coconut milk is obviously your best choice.
When buying canned coconut milk, always check the list of ingredients at the back level. It should, at the minimum, only have coconut milk and water.
Sugar and Salt - white sugar is preferred for the coconut sauce. Salt enhances and balances the sweetness of the rice mixture and sauce.
How to Make Mango Sticky Rice
Here's how to make your favorite mango sticky rice the easiest way:
Part 1. Rinse Sticky rice
Rinsing sticky glutinous rice is done to remove surface starch, resulting in individual grains that are less sticky and clump together less during cooking.
To rinse sticky glutinous rice, place rice in a large bowl. Fill with cold tap water covering the rice completely. Swirl the rice gently with your hand to wash away the starch.
Carefully pour out the cloudy water without losing any grains. Refill the bowl with fresh water and repeat the rinsing process until the water appears clearer.
Part 2. Soak and Cook the Rice
Start by soaking the rice in freshly boiled water. Using hot water hastens the soaking process. It softens the rice grains and will make it easier to absorb moisture during the steaming process.
After soaking, drain the rice in a mesh colander and rinse with cold water to remove excess starch. This is an important step to prevent the rice from becoming mushy.
Transfer to a large muslin cloth or cheesecloth. Place in the steamer rack then spread Fold the edges and cover with a lid.
Steam for 25 to 30 minutes. Start checking doneness at 25 minutes.
Part 3. Make the Sauce
Making the sweet and salty coconut sauce is the easiest part. To save time, do this while the rice is cooking.
Use ¾ cup of the coconut milk mixture over the hot sticky rice. Stir and toss until combined. Let it sit until the sauce is absorbed. The remaining coconut milk will be used as a topping.
Thicken the remaining sauce with cornstarch or rice flour slurry. Add it to the sauce and bring it to a simmer until it becomes thick yet pourable.
Tip: Use medium heat when cooking the coconut sauce. High heat can cause it to curdle and become less smooth. Stir constantly just until the sugar is dissolved.
Part 4: Serve
While waiting for the rice to be ready, peel the sweet mangoes with a sharp knife. Slice diagonally or to the preferred size. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Once the sticky rice is cooked and slightly cooled, transfer it to a serving plate or individual bowls.
Arrange the mango slices on top of the rice or put them on the side, either in a neat pattern or scattered over the rice bed.
Pour the sweet coconut sauce generously over the sticky rice, allowing it to soak into the grains. Reserve some sauce for additional drizzling later if desired
For added presentation, you can sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or garnish with fresh mint leaves on top.
Serve mango sticky rice as a dessert or an afternoon snack. It is quite filling so best to eat it in small portions. I personally love it after having a light spicy or savory meal like Tom Yum Soup, Green Chicken Curry, or Steamed Fish.
Storage and Shelf-life
Cooked sticky rice should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated promptly. It can typically be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days.
Freezing: To extend the shelf-life, cooked sticky rice can be frozen. Place it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, making sure to remove any excess air. Frozen sticky rice can maintain its quality for 1 to 2 months.
Thawing and reheating: When ready to use frozen sticky rice, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, steam the rice or microwave it with a bit of water to restore its moisture and fluffiness.
It's important to note that the texture of sticky rice may change slightly after storage, becoming slightly drier or stickier.
However, it can still be enjoyed in various dishes and recipes, including stir-fries, desserts, and traditional Asian dishes. Always check the rice for any signs of spoilage before consuming, such as unusual smells, mold growth, or a slimy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of food steamer can I use?
You can use any of these food steamers to make sticky rice:
- Electric steamer
- Stove top steamer
- Bamboo steamer
- Rice cooker with steamer insert
- DIY Make-shift steamer - use a pot and a stainless colander with fine mesh. Make sure the bottom is not touching the water.
How to tell if a mango is ripe?
To tell if a mango is ripe, you must check the:
- Color and appearance- first check the color. Ripe mangoes have a deep bright yellow hue. If it's pale or has shades of green then it is still not ready. If it's discolored or has large black spots, then it is overripe.
- Smell - ripe mangoes will have a sweet and fruity scent. I usually take a sniff at the stem area to check.
- Lightly Squeeze - it's ripe and ready to eat if it's soft. If it's hard then it will probably need a couple more days to ripen. If it's too soft or mushy then the mango is overripe and should not be used.
Note: Unripe or overripe mangoes are not recommended for mango sticky rice.
Can I use regular short-grain rice to make sticky rice?
Glutinous rice is the only rice you can use to make mango sticky rice. It's uniquely gluey and sticky compared to other variations of rice like Jasmine rice or Japonica rice.
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Mango Sticky Rice: Soak in Just 30 Minutes!
- 1 cup glutinous rice (see note 1)
- freshly boiled water (for soaking)
- 1-2 sweet ripe mangoes (peeled and slice, see note 2)
Choice of Toppings
- toasted sesame seeds for topping (optional)
- Place rice in a large stainless bowl. Fill with cold tap water covering the rice completely. Swirl the rice gently with your hand to wash away the starch. Carefully pour out the cloudy water without losing any grains. Refill the bowl with fresh water and repeat the rinsing process until the water appears clearer.
- Pour freshly boiled water. Stir a couple of times. Soak for 30 mins.
- Drain the glutinous rice in a mesh colander. Rinse with tap water to remove excess starch. Prepare the steamer.
- Transfer to a large cheesecloth, muslin cloth, or tea towel. Spread it out so it cooks evenly. Fold the cloth to enclose the rice. Place in the steamer and steam for 25 to 30minutes. Start checking doneness at 25 mins. Once cooked, place into a large bowl.
Coconut Cream Sauce
- While the rice is cooking, make the sauce. Combine coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in a pot over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Avoid letting it simmer. Once done, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Once the rice is cooked, pour ¾ of the sauce into the cooked rice. Toss until combined. Let it sit until the liquid is completely absorbed.
- Meanwhile, add the cornstarch slurry and remaining sugar to the remaining sauce. Bring to a simmer and stir until it thickens. Immediately remove from heat.
- Place sticky rice and slice mangoes on a plate. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Glutinous Rice - also known as sticky rice or sweet rice. You can buy this online and an Asian grocery store.
- Mangoes - use yellow sweet mangoes, better if you can find Thai or Philippine mangoes.
- Coconut Milk - when buying canned coconut milk, always check the list of ingredients at the back level. It should, at the minimum, only have coconut milk and water.
- Other thickeners you can use are rice flour, tapioca flour, or potato starch,
Originally published March 2022. Updated with new photos. Same great recipe.
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