Coconut sticky rice with grilled mango
Summer is over. But we can still enjoy the last of the fruits we associate with the season and, hopefully along with them, a few more warm, sunny days. End-of-season and tree-ripened fruit that have had a longer “hang time”, perhaps in cooler climates, do tend to have more complexity and acid balance. And grilling them can enhance this character. It’s like the difference between eating raw sugar and caramel.
Apart from mango, the other key element to this dish is coconut milk. You can use canned coconut milk without a problem, but the ultimate result comes from making your own. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend doing so. I have written previously about almond milk and the same principles apply. First, scoop out and peel the flesh of a mature coconut. Blend it in a jug blender with one-and-a-half times the quantity in weight of cold water. Strain it into a muslin cloth, then squeeze the milk out. You’ll end up with both the milk and the shaved coconut flesh required for this recipe.
The beauty of using glutinous rice is that you can cook it out to a porridge and it still retains a sticky texture that works so well with the slippery mango. The texture in this dish is important, as is the balance of sweetness and acidity. The role of the lime juice and palm sugar is to heighten these elements, not to dull them, so keep this in mind when adding. In this time of social distancing and isolation, long may summer sunshine linger.
- 1 cup glutinous rice
- 400ml coconut milk
- 15g palm sugar
- 1 lime
- ½ cup shaved coconut flesh
- 1 large ripe mango
- Soak the rice in ample cold water in the refrigerator overnight.
- The following day, rinse the rice under water until the water runs clean and then place it in a pot with 350 millilitres of water and an equal amount of the coconut milk. Shake the pot to level the rice, cover it with a lid and place on a medium flame/heat.
- Cook for 10 minutes before turning the heat to low, then continue cooking for a further 15 minutes. The liquid should be almost completely absorbed and thickened somewhat from the starch in the rice. Pull the rice off the heat and set it aside.
- Take the reserved coconut milk and combine it with the palm sugar and the juice of the lime. This will serve as a dressing for the rice. Toast the coconut shavings very gently in a 160ºC oven for one minute. This will bring the oil to the surface and lift the flavour.
- Cut the cheeks from the mango but leave them in their skins. Score the flesh using the tip of a fine blade to form a small dice within the cheek by crosshatching your cuts.
- Place the mango straight into a very hot and dry cast-iron pan or directly over a very hot grill and leave it to form a dark skin (about three minutes). Pull the mango from the heat and let it rest flesh-side up.
- Once it has cooled slightly, run a thin blade between the flesh and the skin to scoop out the mango. Place a spoon of the rice into the middle of a plate or shallow bowl. Spoon the dressing over and then sprinkle the coconut shavings on top. Finish with the mango and a touch more lime juice if desired.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 4, 2020 as "Last daze of summer".
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