Give me a break! is a regular column by Gift Homsaen about the lighter, sweeter, happier moments in life. Because we all need a break from the stresses we face everyday. Take that, KitKat.
Have you ever had a special dessert and instantly been blown away? It takes away your worries, thr concerns and pains of trying to survive during the pandemic time. It’s a happy moment that you hang on to and never want to let go. Mango sticky rice is that special kind of dessert – a Thai dessert that is popular worldwide. I didn’t have it enough when I lived in Thailand, so it becomes much more precious and refreshing when I have it here in Seattle. I happen to know a place that serves great mango sticky rice. Once I took the first bite, I thought I was flying. That authenticity of taste, texture, and aroma took me back to Thailand. It was like a daydream. I wanted to do anything to make the feeling last. It’s hard to live these days, don’t you think? This dessert can cheer you up a whole lot. So, let me tell you where to get it and how to make it yourself.
What’s so special?
This gluten-free, vegan mango sticky rice is served by Nit Thai Dessert in the Wallingford neighborhood as a pop-up shop. The shop owner makes sticky rice freshly every day to ensure that customers get the highest quality dessert possible. There are traditional sticky rice, pandan infused sticky rice, Thai tea-infused sticky rice, and black sticky rice. All sticky rice is marinated in coconut-based sauce, which makes it soft, sweet, and aromatic. My favorite one is pandan sticky rice because the slight fragrance of pandan makes the dessert so exotic and addictive.
I love how well the sticky rice goes with fresh, ripe mangoes. The mangoes are sweet, slightly sour, a little juicy and served cold. With the combination of warm sticky rice, it’s an irresistibly perfect dessert anytime.
Special sticky rice is served on occasions. Jackfruit sticky rice, for example, has four arils of jackfruit stuffed with sticky rice and garnished with fried mung beans and a mint leaf. Jackfruits are less sweet than mangoes, so they are great if you prefer milder, softer, but still balanced flavors. If you’re in the mood for the full essence of summer, more adventurous and tastier flavors, go for mango sticky rice. Thai iced tea is also available with your choice of milk: half and half, oat milk, or coconut milk.
If you are in the Wallingford area, this is a good opportunity to help support a small business in this difficult time. Nit Thai Dessert is a to-go only shop, located at 4405 Wallingford Ave N, Seattle 98103. You can pre-order on their website or walk in to order by yourself. The shop implements social-distancing practices and has a plastic shield at the counter table to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Facial coverings are required.
Give me a simple recipe!
If you’re up for a challenge and think that it’s too easy to buy it, you can make it yourself! I adore the idea of cooking and baking, especially now that I spend extensive hours on screen. Getting my hands to physically work on something has never been so fulfilling.
Mango sticky rice is easy to make. I found this five-minute video with a simple recipe on a Youtube channel, Tastemade. Jen, the lady in the video, is entertaining and gives clear instructions. Here, I include her recipe so that you can follow along. Most ingredients are available at a local store.
2 cups of sweet or glutinous rice
1 can of coconut milk
½ cup sugar (add more if you want it sweeter)
2 pinches of salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ripe mangoes, sliced on diagonal
Sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Rinse and drain rice, until the water clears. Soak rice for at least 1 hour. It is best to leave overnight if you want it to cook faster. Boil water in a steamer, and pour rice inside of cheesecloth and place in steamer covered. Check after 10 to 15 minutes to see if the grains are tender. If not, cook longer and taste again. It should be chewy but not hard in the middle of the grain. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a pot and bring to a slight boil. Pour half of coconut creme sauce into rice, stir well, and let it cool and soak for about 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, make a cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water. Stir into the rest of the sauce, and heat on low until thickened.
4. Peel mango, slice around pit, and slice on a diagonal. Serve mango slices along rice, sprinkle sesame seeds, and ladle additional sauce on rice and mangoes. ”
Helpful tip: I use a rice cooker and stainless steel strainer instead of using a pot on the stovetop and a cheesecloth. The strainer is much easier to clean than the cloth. I boil water in the rice cooker and keep the water surface low enough not to touch the bottom of the strainer, otherwise, the rice will be soaking wet. However, make sure that the water doesn’t dry out during the steaming.
Although mango sticky rice cannot heal any pain for the long term, it helps soothe your soul in that present moment. It creates that moment when you have the first bite and you immediately look at the person closest to you and smile. Whether you buy the dessert or make it yourself, it’s something worth doing. It’s something that will cheer you up. It’s something that will light up your day.