The last time you dined at a Thai restaurant, do you remember what you ordered for dessert? More likely than not, you enjoyed a bowl of sticky rice, topped with sweet mango. If you were lucky enough to taste this at a Portland Pok Pok, consider yourself lucky. This is probably one of the most talked about Thai restaurant in the United States. Although I haven’t had a chance to eat at Pok Pok yet, I got a chance to try many of its dishes few weeks ago, during my cookbook club meeting. Our cookbook selection was “Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand” by Any Ricker, JJ Goode, Austin Bush and David Thompson.
Among the dishes, there was pad thai, fried egg salad, pork ribs, and much more. For my selection, I picked Andy’s recipe for Sweet Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Sesame Seeds, published in Food & Wine magazine.
You can find the full recipe on the site. I found out, later, that it was different from one published in the book, perhaps an easier, more shortcut version. In this version, the rice is prepared in the microwave instead of steaming, and there are several ingredients missing, that perhaps could be harder to find at a local grocery store.
As such, I adjusted the Food & Wine published recipe but cutting down on the salt and adding vanilla to the coconut sauce. I also chose to use black sesame seeds to offer contrast to white rice and yellow mangoes.
You start by combining coconut milk with sugar and salt in a saucepan and simmering it until slightly thickened and the sugar melts. Feel free to throw in a vanilla bean into the sauce.
For the rice, you might need to head down to your closest Asian grocery store. You’re looking for long grain Thai rice, also called sweet, sticky, or glutinous rice.
Soak the rice for an hour, then rinse it, and cook in the microwave in three stages, until it’s tender.
Meanwhile, you’ll make the second batch of coconut sauce (i added a vanilla bean to this one as well) with sugar and salt – you will add it to the cooked rice and stir it in until it’s fully absorbed. Be sure both the rice and the sauce are still warm.
Toast black sesame seeds and peel and slice mangoes. If at all possible, it’s best to use champagne mangoes.
Serve the rice in individual bowls along with coconut sauce (the first batch you made), mangoes, and sesame seeds. I arranged the mangoes over the bowl of rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds – looks like a happy bumble bee, doesn’t it?