Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert, Best Ever! (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

Mango sticky rice
ADX Collections / Getty Images
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 2 - 4 Servings
Ratings (64)

Heavenly is the only way to describe the classic Thai dessert Khao Niaow Ma Muang).  It's the most famous of all Thai desserts, and so very scrumptious. Be sure to get the right rice for this dessert: you need sticky rice, also known as 'sweet rice' (see link in the ingredients list for a picture). The sticky rice is made it in a pot on your stove (instructions included). Place some fresh mango slices over the sticky rice and smother with the easy coconut sauce - pure heaven! If you like mangoes and/or sticky rice, you're going to love this exotic Thai dessert.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called sticky rice or glutinous rice, available at Asian food stores)
  • 1-2 ripe mangoes (for mango buying and prep. tips, see below)
  • 4-5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk (not 'lite') 
  • 1 1/2 cups water (divided)​

How to Make It

For tips on buying and preparing fresh mango, see my: All About Mangoes.

  1. Soak rice in 1 cup water for 20-30 minutes.  Do not drain the rice. Add 1/2 cup more water, plus 1/2 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Stir well.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Reduce heat to medium-low, or just until you get a gentle simmer.
  1. Simmer 20-30 minutes, or until coconut-water has been absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner with the lid on tight. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. (For step-by-step instructions (with pictures) on how to do this, see my: How to Cook Sticky Rice.)
  2. To make the sauce, warm (do not boil) the rest of the can of coconut milk over medium-low heat (5 minutes). Add 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Taste-test sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. (note that it will taste less sweet when added to the rice).
  4. Prepare mango by cutting it open and slicing into bite-size pieces (see: How to Cut a Mango).  Scoop some warm rice into each serving bowl, then drizzle lots of the sweet coconut sauce over.  It should look like an English pudding with custard sauce, with the rice swimming in sauce. Arrange mango slices on the rice and drizzle over more sauce.  Enjoy!

For Even Saucier Rice: Prepare the mango.  Once the sauce is warm in the sauce pan, add several scoops of rice directly to the pan.  Keep it in clumps, gently turning in the sauce to saturate all sides.  Transfer to serving bowls, then top with the mango and any remaining sauce.