Earlier this month I went on a mom only junket with my friend Jen. We went to Vegas! Our trip there was for the food and not all of the other more “sinful” elements it is known for. We stayed at the ultra *fabulous* Wynn hotel, which has some of the best restaurants in town. Just like the knock-our-socks-off meal we had at Joel Robuchon the restaurant scene there is very luxurious and expensive. When many of my chef friends recommended a casual Thai restaurant off of the strip, I was eager to try it.
Seriously folks Lotus of Siam is the best Thai food, and perhaps the best FOOD, I’ve ever eaten. It is very casual and lacking in pretension, which is such a breath of fresh air in Vegas. It has been favorably reviewed by countless food magazines and critics. The reviewer from Chow said “Don’t skip dessert, or you’ll regret it deeply!” Well folks, I have to admit I gorged myself to the point of not being able to eat dessert the night we went. It is a decision that I will regret until I am able to go back! Me of all people skipping dessert, it is shameful! The restaurant is famous for their Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut cream. I have been obsessed with Thai food and creating this dessert since my return. Here is my version. It is really wonderful and I so look forward to having it at Lotus of Siam next time I’m there.
Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Coconut Cream, inspired by Lotus of Siam and the friendly folks at Shuang Hur in Minneapolis.
2 cups of glutinous sticky rice (found at Asian markets), rinsed and soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups coconut cream or milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (add more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split down the center and scraped
Shredded coconut, fresh or sweetened
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
1 large mango
spiced pineapple sauce (optional)
Rinse the soaked rice a few times, until the water is no longer milky when drained off. Place the rice in the sticky rice basket, which has been soaked for about 30 minutes. Fill the pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Set the basket of rice over boiling water.
Add a lid that is big enough so that it does not touch the rice. Allow to steam for about 20-25 minutes.
While the rice is cooking prepare the coconut cream:
In a non-reactive sauce pot (stainless steel works nicely. If you don’t use a non-reactive pot the coconut cream tastes of metal), simmer the coconut cream, sugar, salt, vanilla. Taste for sweetness and add a touch more sugar if you think necessary. Remove from heat and allow to sit while rice cooks.
Carefully lift the lid and see if the rice is done. The rice along the edge of the basket will turn translucent.
Once the rice is done on that side flip the rice over and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Flip the rice over by holding the edges of the basket and jerking it downward. It may take a couple of times until the ball of rice flips completely.
Put the rice into a bowl and pour the coconut cream over it a 1/2 cup at a time.
With two forks gently separate the rice and incorporate the coconut cream. You don’t want to press the rice together. Repeat with more coconut milk until it is flavored to your liking. Reserve a bit of the coconut milk to pour over the finished dessert.
If you are using the individual sticky rice baskets be sure to wash them under water several times before using and all to dry. Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded coconut along the bottom.
Spoon a layer of the sticky rice onto the coconut.
Slice the mango into very thin strips and place over the rice. Cut the papaya into small cubes and arrange on the mango. Drizzle with some of the reserved coconut sauce. Remember that you are using a basket, so don’t overdue the sauce or it will pool up under the basket. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.
For an alternative to the basket you can arrange the rice and fruit on a dish and serve with the pineapple sauce.