About The Fruit
There are many countries that might offer apples or bananas as the most popular fruit in the world, but that wouldn’t be accurate. In fact, did you know that mangoes are actually the most popular fruit in the world? They enjoy a rich history in Indiain particular, but are also utilized all around the world for various dishes, salads, cocktails, and more.
For those who might not be aware, mangoes are native to South Asia, and is the national fruit of both India and Pakistan. It is also the unofficial fruit of The Philippines, and the official tree of Bangladesh, as well. They range from a soft pulpy texture to a more firm texture, depending on the conditions of where they are grown. It is hard to overstate how widely used mangoes can be, as they are incorporated into everything from sauces to ice cream, smoothies to pies, and much more.
About The Dish
Thailand is known for one of the most incredible cuisines in the world, but there are few dishes that have gained traction outside of the country like mango sticky rice, which has spread throughout Asia and other reasons thanks to how delicious of a dessert it can be. You can now find mango sticky rice in countries all over southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and more.
While there are variations on many Thai dishes, the standard mango sticky rice consists of sticky rice, palm sugar, mangoes, and coconut milk. While there are many that prefer fresh coconut milk, mango sticky rice is often served with canned coconut milk, depending on the location or establishment where you find it.
The rice is first soaked in water before cooked using a steam cooker. While this is happening, the coconut milk is mixed with both sugar and salt for added flavor, then heated (but not to a boil). After the rice is fully cooked, the coconut milk mixture and rice are then mixed. It’s important to mix them evenly so that the dish maintains the right consistency.
Where’s the mango? Glad you asked. The mangoes are peeled and sliced, and placed to the side of a serving of sticky rice. Often times, mangoes are placed on top of the rice, and for those who prefer, coconut milk might be drizzled on top of the entire dish, as well.
The rice-based dessert, like rice-based desserts all across the world, is best ate right after being cooked, as being refrigerated dramatically changes its texture and overall taste.
Mangoes have traditionally symbolized prosperity in Thai culture, and many believe that growing a mango on the side of the house is considered a sign of good luck. In Thailand, the mango tree traditionally only bears fruit once a year, sometime between March and June. There is a considerable amount of variety when it comes to the Thai mango, and different colors and sizes are given different names. For example, the “Thong Dam” mango traditionally has an oval mango with a rounded tip, with yellowish orange flesh, while the Pim Sian is an oval mango with a tapered tip, and known to be a bit sweeter.
Unlike other countries, raw mangoes are actually enjoyed as a snack in Thailand. In addition, pickled and pureed mango are also pretty popular dishes in the country, as well.
The mango is considered quite healthy in general, but it is even considered medicinal in Thai culture. For those who are unaware, the mango seed is often ground up and boiled with water to create a drink that solves health problems such as bloating or a particular parasite. Another drink involves boiling 15-20 mango leaves and creating a drink that is used for similar conditions, and also even utilized to clean wounds. Others even utilize a drink made from mango bark to treat fever. Of course, these are not drinks that are sanctioned by official physicians, but have permeated thanks to cultural norms.
Mangoes have a number of health benefitsin general, and is widely known to improve digestion. In addition, the luscious fruits are also known to promote eye health as well as overall immunity. As if this wasn’t enough, there is other evidence that suggests that mangoes also lower cholesterol and help clear up skin.
Of course, mango sticky rice does include sugar and salt, so a tremendous amount of either one can obviously affect how healthy the overall dish is. As far as desserts go, it is probably much healthier than alternatives such as ice cream, however.
Where Can I Find It?
For those who want to enjoy some mango sticky rice that just might change their life, check out Gourmet at Terminal 21. If you are worried about transportation, don’t! It’s only a quick 12-minute walk away from the Centre Point Hotel at Sukhumvit.