martes, 2 de noviembre de 2010

Rice pudding from the land of smiles

Rice pudding, I love it. Anyway, any version, from any country. It takes me back to when I was young (er), and it's definitely a flavour from my childhood, so it has became one of my favorite puddings, for good. Later on, while growing, I started discovering new cuisines from around the world and my palate discovered the Thai version of rice pudding. With coconut cream and fresh mango! I remember the first time I ever tried Thai cuisine, it wasn't in Thailand, it was here in London, when i was being "wooed" (by the one who is now my husband, "the vegetarian") and it was a total discovery, so you can imagine what I felt, and how much did I ate when I finally went to Thailand. I didn't miss a thing, the colours of all the variety of foods being sold at the street stalls, the smell of the stir fries, the lovely fruits, and for someone who loves coconut, like me, I felt in paradise.

In my opinion, Thai cuisine is the door to Asia, gastronomically speaking, like a welcoming window overlooking a country of delights. The flavours are delicate, the ingredients offer array of endless possibilities and the final result is aromatic and elegant. Thai food is, like its people, kind and warm, and it tastes as good as it looks. Apart from the flavour, the plates, the china and the golden cutlery (they hardly use chopsticks) are so characteristic and appropriate, that a Thai dinner or lunch becomes a party for all our senses. 

Rice pudding with coconut cream and fresh mango or Khao niao mamuang is a delicacy that surprises and everybody likes (or almost everyone). Glutinous or sticky rice should be used for this recipe, the favorite in the north of Thailand and it's extremely important to soak it overnight or 3 hours before cooking, this wil make its consistency to mix wonderfully well with the coconut cream. The fresh mango give the dish a lovely twist keeping the balance between the two strong flavours. Hope you like it. Kob khun kaa...

Khao niao mamuang


225g sticky rice
300ml coconut cream
100g palm sugar (or caster sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
3 big ripe mangoes

Method for the rice

Soak the rice overnight in cold water or in hot water for three hours. Wrap it in muslin and place it in the steamer, cook for 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, heat the coconut cream with the sugar and salt. When the rice is done and still warm, pour half of the warm coconut cream over the rice and let it sit until it's cold. Add more sugar according to taste. Peel and ct the mango in thin slices.

To serve, place the rice in a bowl, and lay the mango slices on top, or cut it in shapes with a biscuit cutter. Serve with the remaining coconut cream.