Recipe: Sticky Rice with Mango & Coconut

This is my recipe for Thai Sticky Rice with Mango or Khao Neow Mamuang as it is known in Thailand. This is a classic Thai dessert, I’ve spoken to people who claim the main reason they go to Thailand is to feast on this recipe every single day of their holiday. This recipe is adapted from the one I learnt at the excellent Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School (, they do an excellent five-day cooking course (as well as shorter one day courses) if you ever happen to be in that part of the world.

You need to start this recipe the day before as the sticky rice needs to be soaked overnight before cooking.


Serves 6 (generously, if you have leftovers it is yummy for breakfast the following day)


2 mangoes (ripe and fragrant)

250g sticky rice (often called glutinous rice), soaked in water overnight. You can get this in an Asian supermarket or order online.

200mls thick coconut milk (I always try to get the one with the highest percentage of coconut extract in it. Never use light coconut milk.)

100g sugar

1/4 tsp salt

5g roasted sesame seeds (I like to use black ones because the contrast is pretty)


200mls of coconut milk (the rest of the tin)

50g sugar (if you like, you can leave the sugar out of the sauce if you prefer a less sweet dessert)

A pinch of salt


Drain the soaking water off the sticky rice.

Steam the sticky rice for about 30 minutes or until it is cooked. This really depends on how effective your steamer is and how much you are cooking. If your steamer has holes in it which the rice will fall through line it with some baking parchment that you have pierced with smaller holes. You need some holes to make sure the steam is getting through to the rice.

Combine the thick coconut milk, sugar and salt and stir to dissolve the sugar. Don’t worry if the sugar doesn’t completely dissolve as it will when it is mixed with the hot rice.

Once the rice is cooked transfer to a bowl and add the coconut milk, sugar and salt mixture and stir well to combine. Leave the rice for about an hour to fully absorb all the coconutty goodness.

Combine the sauce ingredients and stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Peel and chop up the mango, either into small cubes or into thin slices.

The rice is best eaten on the day it is made. When you are ready to serve the rice scoop it into bowls. Arrange the mango on top of or beside the rice. Pour over the sauce – we like to warm the sauce slightly first (in the microwave or in a pan on the hob) but it is fine served cold too. Finally, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

A couple of additional thoughts:

When you open a tin of coconut milk it is usually separated into the ‘thicker’ and ‘thinner’ coconut milk. It’s best to use more of the ‘thicker’ coconut milk to mix into the sticky rice and then use the ‘thinner’ milk for the sauce.

You can also get black sticky rice, this looks really dramatic for this dessert and has a slightly more savoury and nutty flavour. It can be prepared in the same way, though it will need to be steamed for longer than the white rice or you can boil it in water and then drain, before stirring in the sugary coconut mixture whilst it is still warm. Serve the black sticky rice sprinkled with regular white sesame seeds for maximum contrast.

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