Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: Mango and Sticky Brown Rice Pudding

For a long time I thought that I did not like two of the featured ingredients in this recipe -- mangoes and coconut.

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I know, mangoes? What was I thinking? Well, I unjustly lumped the mango with the papaya, which, for the record, remains one of the very few fruits that I still do not like, along with stinky durian. As for coconut, I was at first turned off by its vaguely soapy aftertaste in both dried and milk forms, but now I love it.

With mango season in full swing, my thoughts turned to a simple but delicious dessert that I had in Thailand several years ago: mangoes and sticky rice. A Thai classic. I had plenty of mangoes on hand, but what about the other key ingredients?

The version that I had in Thailand featured black glutinous rice, which you may be able to find in Asian supermarkets or at Whole Foods. The irony for me, of course, is that I now live far closer to Thailand but cannot get such products in Nepal. I substituted short grain brown rice, and it worked perfectly.

The last key ingredient I had to track down was coconut milk. I could not find it at the nearby Bhat Bhateni superstore, so I almost gave up on the recipe entirely -- until I stumbled upon this at the Gemini market near Boudha.

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Then I set about prepping my ingredients and developing a recipe. I adapted my recipe from this one, making a couple adjustments along the way.

I had to scrap the coconut oil because unfortunately we cannot get that product here, despite the fact that coconuts are plentiful and cheap. Instead, I increased the coconut love by adding some unsweetened dried coconut to the finished dish.

And instead of adding cane sugar or coconut palm sugar (of which I have neither) to the coconut milk, I created a bit of mango puree and stirred that into the cooked rice to add natural, mango-flavored sweetness. That said, this substitution makes for a very subtly sweet dish, so if you want a sweeter dessert, add some sugar.

Because my version does not include any added sugar, it may be better suited for a tropical-inspired breakfast than dessert.

Mango and Sticky Brown Rice Pudding

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups uncooked short grain brown rice, soaked in water overnight to soften
3 cups water
14 ounces coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
One ripe mango, pureed
One ripe mango, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced dried coconut (optional)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried coconut

1. Drain the soaked rice and combine the rice with three cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer, cooking until the rice has absorbed all of the water. If, by the end of cooking, the consistency is on the dry side, add a little more water and continue to cook to increase the sticky factor. When the rice is cooked, remove from heat but cover the pot to keep it warm.
2. While rice is cooking, prep your mangoes. For the slices, peel the mango first and then cut the flesh off the core. Thinly slice. For the puree, use your method of choice to extract the flesh and then mash with a fork or potato ricer.
3. When rice is fully cooked, stir in mango puree.
2. Heat coconut milk in a small pan over low heat and add salt, cooking until the milk is warm.
3. Separate the coconut milk into two halves.
4. Pour one half of the coconut milk over the cooked rice and stir. Allow the rice to sit for 20 minutes to soak up the liquid.
5. Divide the rice among individual bowls. Spoon the remaining coconut milk over each rice bowl.
6. Top each bowl with mango slices and, if using, dried coconut slices. Then sprinkle each bowl with lime zest and unsweetened shredded coconut. Serves 6-8.

I like to use my Y-shaped peeler to remove mango skin.

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This makes slicing a mango much easier.

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The flesh of ripe mangoes is easy to puree by hand.

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The mango puree melts into the warm rice.

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The rice mixture quickly soaks up the coconut milk.

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While you wait for the rice to absorb all of the coconut milk, prep the final touches for the dish.

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Ladle rice into small dishes, top with additional coconut milk, and arrange your toppings.

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Enjoy!

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It's a little bit of Thailand -- by way of Nepal.

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