Thursday, January 26, 2006

Low SHF 15 - Tropical Triangles

Low is the New High in shapes and layers: triangles of coconut-flavored sticky rice stuffed with minced mango on layers of sliced mango and pomegranate sauce. The richness of the coconut, the perfume and natural sweetness of the mango, and the pleasant acidity of the pomegranate sauce dispel most thoughts of the thick sugary desserts that I consumed at the end of 2005.

The bulk of the effort for this dessert was making the coconut sticky rice. First, I rinsed the rice and soaked it in water for a few hours. Then I poured it into a metal strainer, shook it a few times to remove excess water, and set the strainer on the rim of a saucepan above a few inches of simmering water. I placed the pot lid on top of the sieve, and let it steam for about 30 minutes. It was transformed into a beautiful, translucent mass of discrete rice grains.

Near the end of the rice steaming period, I made a coconut sauce by combining canned coconut milk and palm sugar (see note below) in a sauce pan and bringing it to a boil, and then stirring until the sugar was dissolved. I turned down the heat and kept the coconut sauce warm until the rice was finished, then combined them and let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes to allow the rice to soak up the coconut sauce. The recipe for the coconut rice can be found at Epicurious.

I made the pomegranate sauce by removing the fruit of a pomegranate, grinding it in a food processor, straining out the juice, and reducing it with some palm sugar and pomegranate molasses on the stove. Pomegranate molasses is available at Middle Eastern markets, and keeps almost forever in the refrigerator.

Notes: Most of the raw ingredients are shown in the photo on the left below. The palm sugar and sticky rice (a.k.a. sweet rice or glutinous rice) can be found at most Southeast or East Asian markets (I bought mine at the excellent Tuk Tuk Thai Market on University Avenue in Berkeley). Palm sugar is sap from certain species of palm tree that has been boiled and evaporated until crystallized.

The tools for making the rice triangles are shown on the right below. These particular items were brought to me from Japan, but I imagine that they could be found in Japanese markets outside of Japan. I hope to use the rice triangle forms to make other portable goodies in the future. For example, herbed rice stuffed with mushrooms in red chile sauce, Indian-spiced rice stuffed with sauteed vegetables, "fried cheese with club sauce"(audio), or even rice filled with "spicy club sauce"(audio). [context for audio clips, which are from an Arrested Development Fansite (Steve Holt!)]

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Diane said...

This is my all-time favorite dessert. I make it just with mango, but after seeing how beautiful is it with the pomegranate sauce am going to have to try that! Mmmmmmmm....

Sam said...

This is great Marc - thank you very much for joining me for SHF. Love the little molds!


Elise said...

Oh, I love sticky rice. Never knew how to make it though, until now. Thanks!