When I first traveled to Bangkok two years ago, I was very curious to taste the Thai food that I had heard so many good things about. Therefore, together with some friends, I devoted the first days of my travel to a sort of gastronomic tour, most commonly called “pigging out“.
I immediately began to hear singing the praises of famous mango sticky rice by some Italians who had lived there for months. But it seemed that every time they took me with them to try one we could find only not-so-good versions of it. Actually I had already fallen in love but, driven by the pursuit of taste perfection, I began to eat it almost everywhere. However, as I walked away from the south of Thailand, this dish became increasingly difficult to come by, until in Laos it disappeared completely from the menus.
And I began to miss it, to miss it desperately.
I was addicted to mango sticky rice.
In Laos, in the midst of withdrawal symptoms of it, I became friend to a Dutch girl, Josje, a great travel, chats and eating companion – we called each other “fat princess” – who had also a passion for mango sticky rice. Together we managed to find a restaurant in the south of the country which cooked our beloved dish and we dedicated the last morning together to share the pleasure of tasting it, and then we continued our travel along different roads. My road took me to wonderful countries but lacking of my personal drug; Josje went back to Netherlands and she prepared mango with sticky rice for her welcome back party, sent me a photo and the recipe.
I traveled through Asia for four more months, spending the last three weeks waiting to return to Thailand, where my flight home left and where I would find my lost love. Later I learned how to cook it but, I have to admit, is no longer the same thing: maybe it depends on the poor quality of European mangos or on Asia which opened my hearth as well as my stomach, but I have never been able to feel again that perverted pleasure while eating it. I look forward to going back to Thailand, but in the meanwhile I continue spreading the myth of mango sticky rice writing here the recipe.
Ingredients (2 people):
1 cup glutinous rice (Thai rice)
1 and ½ cup water
250 ml of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 pinch of salt
Put the rice in a bowl and add the water. Let stand for at least 40 minutes (if you have time up to 3 hours). Drain the rice, put it in a pot and cook steam. Pour the coconut milk in a saucepan and warm it as you continue to mix it because it does not stick to the pot. Try not to bring it to a boil, otherwise the flavor of the coconut will tend to fade. Add sugar and salt (possibly even a bit of corn starch or rice flour as a thickener), stirring constantly, and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, cut the mango chunks. Remove the rice from the pot and place in a large bowl. Pour immediately over ¾ of the coconut milk cooked and let stand for 10 minutes. Put the rice in a serving dish. Add the mango pieces on the side. Heat slightly the last quarter of coconut milk and pour it over the rice and mango.
Dammit, I’m writing this post in the evening without having the ingredients I need to prepare it at home! I’ll dream of it in the night, tomorrow I’ll be ravenously sneaking around Turin and won’t rest until I made my groceries and cooked it. Of course, it will never be as good as in Asia, but, waiting to go back there, I keep my taste buds trained.
Cover image: RC!