Strawberry season is in full swing and signs announcing fresh strawberries are everywhere right now, at small roadside stands, pick-your-own fields and farmers markets. I find passing up ripe strawberries particularly difficult, as they easily sell themselves with their bright juicy red exterior, so naturally I wanted to cook with them. I decided to use them alongside mango for sticky rice coconut topping, as mangos and strawberries compliment each other in a beautifully delicious way. Making sticky rice at home eluded me for many years, as it seemed complicated and I lacked the appropriate tools. Sticky rice is a short-grained rice from Southeast Asia with high amounts of amylopectin, responsible for the sticky quality of the rice. However, after finding the proper rice and researching different cooking methods, I found it was possible to simulate the bamboo steamer used in Thailand with a steamer basket and cheesecloth. Sticky rice has since become a frequent dish I have on hand for a dessert, breakfast or snack.
Sticky rice is commonly sold as sweet rice, though different from brown sweet rice, and can be found at specialty stores, larger grocery stores or Asian markets. Frozen fruit can be substituted for fresh fruit, depending upon availability.
1 c sticky rice
1 ripe mango, peeled and seeded
5 ripe strawberries, tops removed
1 can coconut milk
½ c sugar
1. Place rice in a mixing bowl and fill bowl with water. Allow rice to soak for 12-24 hours. Place a steamer basket into a pot; add water up to the steamer basket and line basket with cheesecloth. Drain rice, evenly place rice on cheesecloth, cover and bring water to a boil. Steam rice until tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, place cooked rice in a bowl and set aside.
2. Finely dice a strawberry and a small mango segment, set diced fruit aside. Combine coconut milk, sugar and remaining fruit in a food processor. Thoroughly combine into a smooth purée.
3. To serve, place ½ c rice in a bowl and spoon coconut purée over rice. Garnish with diced fruit and brown or raw sugar. Serve immediately at room temperature.