June 2, 2006

sticky rice with mango

This Thai classic is not an unusual combination of flavors for us Filipinos. I remember my mother used to eat “suman sa ibus” ( a traditional rice cake wrapped and steamed in coconut instead of banana leaves ) with sweet, ripe mango slices all the time. Lunch at our new favorite Thai restaurant gave me the rare opportunity to have this seasonal dessert. Our nice server was so kind and accomodating to go out of her way and offer to make me this for dessert with one of the mangoes she ordered for her family. It was an unselfish offer which was so hard for me to refuse, so with my sincere apologies to her, I took a bite and savored the sweet mangoes with sticky rice topped with a sweet, slightly thickened coconut milk sauce. Instantly took me way back when I travelled to Thailand with my cousins. Staying with my cousin’s Thai friend, and experiencing Thai hospitality and graciousness, was unforgettable. Aside from getting a chance to stay at her lovely home, we were treated to authentic Thai cuisine which included a daily snack of sticky rice & mangoes, which easily became our favorite. The ripe mangoes were picked from two dwarf mango trees right in her neat & spacious yard, all laden with fruit. The mango variety she has remains green even when ripe. Those were the sweetest mangoes I’ve ever had. It’s different from the variety we have in Manila, although there’s no doubt Manila mangoes are also the best. These Thai mango variety is sweet like “sprinkled with sugar” sweet. Having no luck with getting mangoes from the Filipino store lately, there must be a shortage or a greater demand this summer, I decided to just get the variety they have at the grocery which is what we commonly call Indian mango in the Philippines. They are more fibrous than Manila mangoes. I cooked some sticky rice and made the topping from a recipe I got from a Thai cuisine website, and the result can be seen in the photo above.

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