Living in Australia taught me much about Asian cooking. Most Thai restaurants we visited in Sydney offered little for dessert. However, with a hungry baby in tow nearly everywhere we dined, the chefs began to bring us treats that weren't always on the menu. This dish is inspired by one we tried at Sailors Thai in Sydney's Circular Quay. My son heads off to college this fall and still enjoys eating one of the first desserts he ever had--sticky rice and mangoes. 

Kitchen Notes
If you are lucky enough to find Alphonso mangoes, they are the sweetest and easiest to peel. Pass a small glass pitcher filled with the remaining coconut cream at the table. Canned coconut milk (not light) may be substituted for the coconut cream if cream is not readily available. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's both sell coconut cream.

Purple Sticky Rice with Toasted Coconut & Mango


  • 1 1/2 cups purple sticky rice or black sweet rice

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can light coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 cups cold water

  • 1 cup coconut cream

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or dark brown sugar

  • Sea salt

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

  • Coconut flakes, toasted


1. Several hours (or even the night before), rinse and soak the rice in plenty of water.

2. Drain the rice and put it in a rice cooker. Add the light coconut milk and 1 cups water and cook.

3. Meanwhile heat the coconut cream, 1/2 cup water, palm sugar and vanilla pod seeds over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. If the coconut cream mixture is too thick to pour, add a bit more water. 

4. When ready to serve, divide rice among six bowls, sprinkle with sea salt, and a generous drizzle of the reserved coconut cream mixture.

5. In a small skillet toast the coconut flakes over a low flame until fragrant and golden brown. 

6. Divide the rice into bowls and top with mango cubes and toasted coconut flakes.

7. Additional coconut milk may be passed at the table for individuals to pour to his or her liking.