Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

I decided to throw a Thai-themed office party at work yesterday, and wanting to be the only person to contribute to said theme, I decided to whip up a traditional Thai dessert of coconut rice pudding. For those of you who have travelled the world, or know anything about the world in general, you know that American pudding is not what people in other countries consider pudding. In most countries, pudding is very, very thick  and custardy, or is more like a cake. This pudding is more like a thick custard.

Let's talk about this little piece of heaven. First of all, it's incredibly easy, but it does require you to wash two pans. Oh my God! I've just lost half of you. It also requires the use of sticky rice (what most of you know as "Chinese restaurant rice"). There goes two-thirds of the remaining half. I ended up scoring my sticky rice from a Chinese coworker because I didn't trust myself to find the right thing at the Asian market. Sue me for not knowing how to read another language. 

My mangoes... and the remnant of my coconut cream can. 
I had a bit of trouble with the coconut milk. The market I went to had lite coconut milk and coconut cream, but not coconut milk. I decided that since the recipe specifically stated that I should use thick coconut milk, I went against my aspirations of a trim waistline and went to for the cream. Now, I want you to be very careful when purchasing liquid coconut products. Cream of coconut is very different from coconut cream. Do not buy cream of coconut. You will ruin your dish. 

Fast forward to the party.... The pudding was a smashing hit! Everyone loved it and was surprised when I told them how easy it was. Many people even came back for seconds! Winning! The recipe below makes about 20 small servings. Obviously, you can cut it in half and serve it as the only dessert and get about 6 servings. 

2 cup sticky rice
2 ripe mangos, cut into slivers
1/2 cup  brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans coconut cream
water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

1. In a pan, soak the rice in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes. Do not drain after soaking. 

2. After 45 minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of water to the rice and water. Also add 1/2 can of coconut cream. So what happens with this is what the top of the can is solid, and the bottom contains liquid. Make sure you get some of the liquid out. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

3. Add salt and 2 tbsp brown sugar. 

4. Over medium-low heat, bring the rice to a gentle boil. Put the cover on the pot, an simmer for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, and let the rice sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes longer. 

5. In the meantime, pour the rest of your coconut cream (1 1/2 cans) and the rest of your brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat the ingredients on low heat until the chunky parts have liquified and the ingredients and mingled nicely. 

6. To serve, divide the rice into serving dishes and pour the sauce over generously. Top with mangoes. 

The recipe I sort of used suggested that I serve this hot, but because I brought it to work, I served this at room temperature, and it was so, so good!! Don't worry, the sauce won't solidify once it's heated the first time. Also, I think Americans are used to eating pudding on the colder side, so don't worry! :)

I also made it two days ahead of time, and it was perfect on serving day. I also put out the leftovers today, and it was still delicious. This is an excellent make-ahead dish. You'll have to keep the sauce, rice, and mangoes in different containers, though.
This is a crappy picture because I took it at work, where there
is bad lighting. The ugly black countertop doesn't exactly
make for an appealing backdrop, either. 

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