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Mango with sticky rice

16 of October 2011

It’s mango season here in Thailand, and the best way to enjoy them is to pair the sweet fruit with sweet and salty coconut-milk sticky rice. Khao Nieow Ma-muang is a very popular dessert.

How to make
Soak the sticky rice for at least an hour before steaming.
Steam for 20 minutes on medium-high in a sticky rice steamer. If you don’t have a sticky rice steamer, you can try steaming in a bowl in a covered saucepan with an inch of water at the bottom of the pan. You could also try using a regular steamer, but cover the holes with cheese cloth or muslin cloth so that the rice doesn’t fall through.

While steaming, prepare the sauce for the rice. Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk to a saucepan along with the 1 1/3 tablespoons sugar & 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir over low heat until dissolved. Set aside.

Prepare the topping sauce as well. In another small saucepan, add the 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and stir over low heat until dissolved. Mix the tapioca starch with a little bit of water in a small bowl until a paste, then add as well. Mixing the starch beforehand will prevent any lumps from forming in the sauce. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.

When the rice is finished, spread out in a shallow bowl and cover with 1/2 the thin sauce (the sauce you made first). Stir well and keep adding more until you reach saturation point. Depending on the rice used, it should be around 75% of the sauce. You may need to use it all. You don’t want very wet rice, it should be somewhat dry and sticky. Don’t add until it’s submerged, but keep in mind that the rice will absorb some of the liquid. I usually add until just before I see puddles of coconut milk. Stir well and cover with a towel. Let the rice absorb the coconut milk for 10-15 minutes.

Slice mango as shown and arrange on a plate. Spoon an equal amount of sticky rice next to it, and top with a few spoons of the thicker sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or fried salty mung beans.

The best mango to eat with this dish is called ‘Naam Dok Maai’ (flower nectar mango), which is available in South East Asia. In many Asian groceries in the West you can find a yellow-skinned mango which is skinny and pointy. This works a lot better than the round, red/orange mangoes from Mexico & the Caribbean, which are not anywhere near as yummy as the Asian mangoes.

Make sure you use sticky rice and not regular Thai rice in this dish. Sticky rice is sometimes called glutinous rice. The grains are whiter and fatter than regular rice.

Do not refrigerate the sweet sticky rice — it turns into a rock-hard mess which tastes awful. If you have to make it ahead of time, just leave it out on the counter. It’ll last for a few hours no problem.

Chao Koh brand coconut milk is the best to use in this dish. If you can find it in a paper carton, it’s better than a can. If you cannot find Chao Koh, do not, by any means use a brand of coconut milk that does not originate from Thailand. The local supermarket variety will ruin this dish!

I really like a slightly cold mango with slightly warm rice. It compliments the sweet & salty of the dish.

Residents of many provinces face imminent flooding – or the worsening of existing flooding – as massive amounts of water move towards their areas from parts further north. The run-off water is set to reach Bangkok between October 16 and 18, which is also the high-tide period.

“Floods will hit the capital for sure. It’s just a question of where,” Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute director Dr Royol Chitradon said yesterday.

Water management and drainage capacity would determine how serious the situation would be, he said.

According to the 24/7 Emergency Operations Centre for Floods, Storms and Landslides, pushing water out to sea will get much more difficult later this month because the seawater level is about to rise. The centre’s deputy director, Wiboon Sa-nguanpong, said that by the time the huge amount of water being released from the Bhumibol and Pasak Jolasid dams reaches the lower Central region late next week, the high-tide period will have already begun.

“Overflowing [of rivers] will likely worsen,” said Wiboon, who also heads the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Located in Lop Buri, the Pasak Jolasid Dam has been holding water at 136 per cent of its normal storage level. As of press time, it was releasing 950 cubic metres of water per second.

Apart from Ayutthaya, the other provinces ordered to prepare for emergency evacuations are Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Chachoengsao, Lop Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Sing Buri and Uthai Thani.

Under an agreement reached at the National Flood Relief Centre’s meeting yesterday, the army will take over the job of protecting Ayutthaya, Lop Buri and Nakhon Sawan provinces from further damage.

Provincial governors have been charged with supervising the protection of other flooded provinces, and they will work closely with local police commanders, 191 police radio centre and the Royal Thai Police Office.

“During the next one or two days, it will be raining too. In fact, it looks set to pour down in many provinces in the Central region,” Wiboon said.

Located in Tak, Bhumibol Dam has reached 98 per cent of its capacity and is now releasing water, forcing people living downstream to struggle with flooding. In Ban Tak district, where floodwaters are about one metre deep, people in 42 villages have had to travel around by boat.

“This is the worst flooding in 52 years. It’s the worst since Bhumibol Dam was constructed,” Ban Tak district chief Thanin Wichitrakoon said. He believed the floods would continue for a few more days, as the dam had been forced to release water.

Elsewhere, residents of many provinces were bracing for more serious floods as run-off water from the upper part of the country raced towards their areas.

Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said that next Thursday or Friday, water would be flowing down the Chao Phraya River in Nakhon Sawan at a rate of between 4,500 and 5,500 cubic metres per second. The sheer scale of the water-flow rate means that more flooding was likely for those living along the river, he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pipatchau Paiboon said the governor of Nakhon Sawan had already been instructed to prepare residents for evacuation.

“Flooding will spread further in riverside provinces, starting with Nakhon Sawan and followed by Chai Nat,” Theera said. To date, flooding has hit 28 provinces and affected more than 2.6 million people. The disaster has killed 244 people and left three missing. It is estimated that floods have already ravaged 7.5 million rai of farmland. As many as 182 roads are impassable due to deep floodwater levels.

Floods have left 1,215 factories submerged, affecting more than 41,000 workers. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday described the situation as “critical” and said she was quite worried about the upcoming storms. Royal Irrigation Department director-general Chalit Damrongsak, said the water volume is much larger than during last year’s flooding.

Yingluck said that in flood-marooned areas, the urgent task was to deliver food. She instructed government agencies to co-ordinate with both private and public-sector organisations in their flood-relief operations.

Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee urged individuals and private firms to make their boats and vessels available for volunteer operations to push water out to sea.

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