All over Southeast Asia you’ll find a popular dessert made with black sticky rice. In America, most times you’ll find these desserts made with white sticky rice and paired with some type of tropical fruit, usually mangoes or papayas. However, it’s the black sticky rice which reigned supreme during my visit to Vietnam. I instantly fell in love with the salty & sweet flavor. Mixed with coconut milk and palm sugar, I had a dish that brought back memories of my childhood in Hawaii.
When I asked my Vietnamese and Thai friends about this dish, most of them said it was something made at home. Something really common, a thing most restaurants wouldn’t serve. Here in San Francisco we’re lucky to have some the most delicious and inventive foods around, but when it comes to getting authentic “home cooked” meals you might have to search a bit. So when I was craving this dish, I realized I would have to learn to make it myself. Thankfully, New May Wah in the Richmond has everything a budding chef of Asian cuisine could hope for!
After picking up the necessary ingredients, I took a look at a few recipes online. Most of them had the same steps for preparing the dish, so instead of following a particular recipe, I decided to Frankenstein my own dish, using some of the skills I picked up in my cooking class in Bangkok. It’s quick and simple so just in case you’re interested in duplicating this dessert, here’s what you’ll need.
- 1 cup glutinous black rice
- 1 box coconut milk (Aroy-D is yummy, imo)
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ⅓ cup palm sugar (when I was in Thailand, my cooking instructor told me that PALM sugar was the way to go!)
- 3½ cups water
- THE NIGHT BEFORE: Wash rice a few times until the water looks fairly clear and then it soak in water overnight. (If you can’t do overnight, 6-8 hours is fine)
- Drain the rice and rinse once more before placing into a small – medium pot.
- Add salt, sugar, and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer. You want most of the water to be absorbed. It should take about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Just set a timer and keep checking so it doesn’t burn.
- Firmer = more water absorption; Softer = more water in the pot.
- Remove from heat and stir one cup of coconut milk into the mixture.
- While it’s still HOT: Scoop out some of the mixture into a serving bowl, top with some additional coconut milk.
- For an extra treat, put a scoop of coconut ICE CREAM on top of it.