Kao Niow Ma-muang
2 cups glutinous rice
Coconut Sauce2 cups coconut milk (or one 14-oz. can)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
About 1 tsp. salt
2-3 pandan leaves
To Serve1-2 ripe mangoes, peeled, sliced and chilled
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, pan-roasted to 10 minutes over low gas flame
Rinse the rice once or twice, cover with water 2-3 inches above the rice line and allow to soak at least 4 hours but best to soak overnight. The grains will absorb much of the water and grow in size. They will also soften; pressing them between your fingers will easily break them into pieces.
When ready to cook, drain the rice and steam dry (without any water). Line a steamer basket with cheesecloth and spread the soaked glutinous rice evenly in the lined steamer basket. It helps to turn the rice and sprinkle a little water over the top once or twice during the cooking time Steam the rice for 15 minutes, then turn it over and steam for 10 more minutes until cooked.
When the rice is about 20 minutes into its steaming, prepare the coconut sauce by heating the coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and salt together in a saucepan. Warm the milk until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Let it simmer for 10 minutes over very low heat. Then, remove the leaves, and after they have cooled enough to handle, use your hand to squeeze out all the fragrant juice until the leaves are dry. Add the pressed juice to the sauce. Keep the sauce warm.
When the rice is done and while it is still hot out of the steamer, pour half the coconut sauce over the rice. Stir well with a spoon to make sure all the grains are well coated. The rice should be wet but not swimming in sauce. Add more of the sauce if needed, reserving the remainder for dribbling over the top before serving. Let stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the rice grains to absorb the coconut sauce.
When ready to serve, dish the rice onto individual serving plates, scatter roasted sesame seeds over rice, arrange sliced mangoes on the top or on the side and spoon some of the reserved coconut sauce over each portion. Serve warm or at room temperature.