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Mango Sticky Rice: A Thai Dessert That's More Than Meets The Eye


Slurrp Desk

Updated:Jul 06, 2023

Delight in the beloved Thai dessert, Mango Sticky Rice, known for its irresistible blend of flavours and textures. Ripe mangoes' sweetness, creamy coconut milk, and sticky glutinous rice create a sensory delight. Discover the secrets behind this treat and follow our recipe to recreate it at home, no matter your location.

Mango sticky rice is a beloved Thai dessert that has gained popularity and recognition beyond its tropical origins. Combining the natural sweetness of ripe mangoes, the creamy richness of coconut milk, and the sticky and chewy texture of glutinous rice, mango sticky rice offers a delightful sensory experience. The origins of mango sticky rice can be traced back to Thailand, where it holds a special place in the country's culinary traditions. While the exact historical origins are unclear, it is believed that mango sticky rice has been enjoyed in Thailand for centuries. The dish showcases the perfect harmony of local ingredients: sweet, ripe mangoes and sticky glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk.

Traditional stories and legends surrounding mango sticky rice are scarce. However, the dessert's popularity is often linked to the abundance of mangoes during Thailand's summer season, which coincides with the ripening of these tropical fruits. Mango sticky rice is frequently associated with joyous festivals such as Songkran (the Thai New Year) and Loy Krathong (the Festival of Lights). Its vibrant colours and flavours capture the essence of Thai cuisine, making it a cultural symbol and a favourite treat for locals and visitors alike.

Traditional Serving and Presentation

Mango sticky rice is traditionally served in a visually appealing manner that enhances its appeal. The dish is typically presented on a banana leaf, which adds a touch of natural elegance. The glutinous rice is formed into a mound or shaped into a square and topped with slices or cubes of fresh, ripe mangoes. The dish is then drizzled with a generous amount of coconut milk sauce.

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In Thai culture, there is a custom of offering food to monks and spirits. During certain festivals and religious ceremonies, mango sticky rice is often prepared and presented as an offering to show gratitude and seek blessings. This reflects the cultural significance of the dessert as a symbol of abundance, generosity, and reverence for tradition.

Variations and Regional Adaptations

Within Thailand, various regional adaptations of mango sticky rice can be found. In the northern region, a popular variation includes the addition of black sticky rice, which lends a nutty flavour and a visually striking contrast to the dish. In the northeastern region, mango sticky rice is sometimes served with a savoury twist, incorporating ingredients like shredded pork or dried fish. In southern Thailand, a variant known as "khao niao durian" features durian fruit alongside mangoes.

Beyond Thailand, mango sticky rice has gained popularity in other Southeast Asian countries. In Vietnam, it is known as "xoi xoai" and may feature coconut cream or sesame seeds. In Malaysia, it is called "pulut mangga" and may be served with a side of spicy shrimp paste. Creative twists have emerged globally, such as adding toppings like toasted coconut flakes, and sesame seeds, or drizzling the dessert with caramel sauce, expanding the flavour profiles and modern interpretations of this beloved treat.

                                                   Video Credit: ThaiChef Food/YouTube

Health Benefits and Nutritional Value

Mango sticky rice offers some nutritional benefits due to its key ingredients. Glutinous rice provides carbohydrates for energy and is a good source of dietary fibre, aiding in digestion. Coconut milk contributes healthy fats and essential minerals like iron and magnesium. Mangoes, rich in vitamins A and C, provide antioxidants that support the immune system and promote healthy skin.

However, it's important to note that mango sticky rice can be high in carbohydrates and sugar. The glutinous rice and ripe mangoes contain natural sugars, while coconut milk adds richness and sweetness. As a result, individuals with diabetes or those following a low-carbohydrate diet should consume mango sticky rice in moderation. It's advisable to opt for smaller portions and consider the overall balance of the meal to manage carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Recipe For Mango Sticky Rice


1 cup glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice)

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ripe mangoes

Toasted sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)


Wash the glutinous rice thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Drain the soaked rice and place it in a steamer lined with cheesecloth or a bamboo steamer basket. Steam the rice over medium-high heat for about 25–30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and cooked through. 

In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Do not let it boil. 

Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a mixing bowl. Gradually pour the coconut milk mixture over the rice while it is still hot. Stir gently to coat the rice evenly with the coconut sauce. Allow the rice to absorb the sauce for about 15–20 minutes. 

While the rice is resting, peel and slice the ripe mangoes into thin, bite-sized pieces. 

To serve, place a portion of the sticky rice on a serving plate or a banana leaf. Arrange the mango slices next to or on top of the rice. 

Optional: Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the mango sticky rice for added flavour and garnish.

Enjoy the mango sticky rice warm or at room temperature. The combination of sweet mangoes, creamy coconut rice, and sticky texture will create a delightful tropical dessert experience.

Note: You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less sugar, depending on your preference. Additionally, this recipe serves as a basic guideline, and you can customise it by adding your own twists, such as drizzling the rice with coconut cream or adding a sprinkle of crushed peanuts.

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