Recipe: Mangoes and Sticky Rice

Mangoes and sticky rice – oh how my heart swoons!  After a heated meal of Thai food – heightened by the bright flavors of kaffir lime, lemongrass and painfully hot chili peppers – nothing soothes the palate quite like a warm bowl of gently sweet and slightly salty mangoes and sticky rice. I like to serve this dish after a meal of coconut shrimp soup with chilies and lime or even on its own as a breakfast.  It satisfies like little else, and like many of the desserts featured at Nourished Kitchen, it is only mildly sweetened with natural and unrefined sweeteners.

Mangoes and sticky rice is classically served with polished, refined white rice, but the dish’s nutrient profile can be improved by using sprouted or soaked brown rice without compromising the ultimate flavor or texture of the dish.  Like all grains, brown rice contains antinutrients which bind up minerals preventing their full absorption and the simple act of soaking or sprouting rice can improve the body’s ability to better absorb grain’s full complement of minerals – particularly zinc and iron. You can read more about soaking grain or learn the benefits of sprouted grain.  This recipe for mangoes and sticky rice is also rich in coconut oil – a remarkable and wholesome fat that’s rich in lauric acid – a fatty acid known for its antimicrobial activities and that is thought to boost the immune system.

mangoes and sticky rice

By Jenny Published: May 27, 2010

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 20 mins

Faintly sweet and slightly salty, mangoes and sticky rice is a classic Thai dessert – often served as a special treat at the end of the meal. This beautiful combination of sweet-salty coconut milk and ripe mangoes nourishes the body and satisfies the tastebuds. The sweet-salt flavor is essential to the true and classic flavors of this dish. Don’t forget, if you like this and other recipes from Nourished Kitchen, please consider signing up for How to Cook Real Food – our new online cooking class.


  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (coconut kefir or other acidic medium)
  • 14 oz full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • up to 2 tbsp unrefined whole cane sugar OR coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 ripe mango (sliced thin)
  • zest of 1 lime


  1. Rinse the short grain brown rice under flowing water until the water runs clear, then place the rinsed brown rice in a bowl and cover it with warm water.
  2. Gently stir 1 tablespoon lime juice, coconut kefir or other acidic medium into the mixture of warm water and brown rice. Allow the rice to soak in this slightly acidic water for eight to twelve hours or overnight.
  3. Once the rice has sufficiently soaked for a period of up to twelve hours, drain the rice and rinse it again before cooking it either on the stove top or in a rice cooker as you normally would.
  4. While the rice cooks, pour 14 ounces full-fat coconut milk into a saucepan over medium-low heat and gently stir 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt and up to two tablespoons unrefined whole cane sugar or coconut palm sugar into the milk until the sugar and salt fully dissolves.
  5. Separate the coconut milk mixture in two halves, then pour one half of the mixture over the cooked rice.
  6. Then stir 1/4 cup coconut oil into the mixture of coconut milk and rice – allowing the rice to soak up the coconut milk and oil for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
  7. Portion the rice into individual bowls and then gently spoon the remaining coconut milk mixture over the rice, layering thinly sliced mango over the rice and garnishing with the zest of one lime.
  8. Serve warm as a dessert or even for breakfast.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    I love sticky rice desserts. A friend of mine made me something similar once with black/red (?) rice. I can’t remember. Anyway, it was yummy. Would you like to link this up at my Vegetarian Foodie Fridays meme at my blog? I’d love to have you.

  2. says

    I love sticky rice! I have a hard time believing the flavor won`t be different using brown rice since glutinous rice has a very distinct flavor, IMO, but I can`t wait to try this! Would love to eat this dish and have it be healthier, thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    Yum! No sticky rice with mango is as good as what I bought from booths in Thailand, but this sure sounds good.

    The salt and sugar in the coconut milk are more typical of the desserts with back beans or taro; with mango it’s typically plain coconut cream. It’s the rice that is sweet. The easy way to make it is by cooking it twice, the second time in sweetened coconut milk. That’s a shortcut taken my many Thais.

  4. Metta says

    The rice sounds and looks devine. Just reading the recipe has my mouth watering and heart falling in love!

  5. says

    Re: the sticky rice issue! No, you aren’t going to get the same results with brown rice as you would using glutinous rice. That’s why the coconut milk is sweetened, to make up for the rice not being authentic sweet sticky rice. But this recipe is about maximizing the nutritional value, not being slavishly authentic. I think it reproduces the taste of the recipe as well as it possibly could using brown rice.

  6. Mara Souvannasoth says

    This certainly looks yummy, but is NOT Sticky rice or what is also called glutinous rice (as someone already mentioned). I’d love to find a source for “brown” sticky rice. But haven’t so far, any ideas? I’ve heard of black sticky rice but haven’t tried it yet, is that the whole grain version? We make the traditional Thai/Lao dessert with the only substitution of rapadura for white sugar. Also, I haven’t ever tried to sprout sticky rice, I guess I should, anyone ever try it?

  7. Kylie NZ says

    What a great dessert! And a supberb idea for a breakfast. I have some organic sticky brown rice that I have been trying to find a use for– now I have! Where do you draw your inspiration for these recipes Jenny?
    Some one mentioned above that the sugar is used to make the brown rice sticky. So if I will be using sticky brown rice, should I ommit or reduce the sugar?
    I wonder how this would reheat…

    • Pat says

      I’ve been looking for organic glutenous/sweet rice. Do you remember where you bought yours? I am also looking for organic glutenous rice flour, know where to get some?

  8. says

    This was very, very good (even though I had to cheat and use white rice)! I plan to make it again soon and will try it with brown rice then.
    Thanks so much,
    Catherine :)

  9. says

    I just came across your blog through Nourishing Days. This recipe caught my attention. I have a neighbor that makes the traditional version and the first time I had it I said, “There has to be a way to make this in a healthy nourishing form.” I was informed that brown rice wouldn’t have the sticky factor so I put it in the back of my mind. I can’t wait to try this and to prove my point- thank you! :)

  10. Kylie NZ says

    Wow. I just made this.. Oh My. Oh my. To answer my above question, and for any one else wondering, this does reheat beautifully. I just put my portion of sticky rice in a small pot (I don’t use a microwave) and added the sauce in with it. Put the lid on, set on low and leave for around 10mins. Delicious!

  11. says

    I made this last night and it turned out salty and kind of runny (I didn’t think it was bad, but my husband wouldn’t eat it). I’m not sure what I did wrong or if it was supposed to be salty to offset the sweet of the mango? I don’t remember it being salty at Thai restaurants…

  12. NanaMolly says

    I love this for breakfast! My hubby thinks it’s dessert. Little does he know how healthy the recipe is, I’ve never even told him that it is made with brown rice :-)

  13. Allen in AK says

    Just thinking it would be closer to authentic and healthier if the saltiness came from fish sauce rather than sea salt. Any thoughts?

  14. says

    I love sticky rice! I am Filipino and we have a sticky rice dessert very similar to this one. I can’t wait to make it! Thanks for posting this.

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