It is now the Year of the Rabbit in Cambodia, because the country has just celebrated their most important festival of the year, Khmer New Year. And no Khmer festival passes without some sweet treats.
Sticky rice forms the basis of many sweet dishes. It’s different from regular long grain rice and is readily available from Asian grocery stores. Sticky rice is traditionally soaked overnight and steamed, not boiled, and when cooked it turns from white to translucent.
Our friends at the two fabulous restaurants in Phnom Penh, Friends and Romdeng, run by Friends-International, share with us this delicious recipe from their award-winning cookbook, From Spiders to Water Lilies.
Caramelised Rice Pudding with Fresh Tropical Fruit
Serves 4 to 6
Street vendors outside schools often sell this caramelised rice pudding on a banana leaf, topped with shredded coconut and sesame seeds. It’s a great after-school snack!
500g white sticky rice, soaked in cold water for about 30 minutes
500ml coconut cream
100g white sugar
100g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 tablespoons palm sugar syrup*
Fresh tropical fruit such a mango, pineapple, dragon fruit and papaya
1. Steam soaked rice for about 30 minutes or until cooked. Set aside to cool.
2. In a wok, bring coconut cream to a boil, add white sugar, coconut, vanilla, lime peel and salt and simmer for about 2 minutes.
3. Add cooled rice and stir frequently on medium heat until all the liquid is mixed into the rice.
4. Spread mixture onto a greased baking tray, let cool and then refrigerate.
5. Cut into slices, drizzle with palm sugar syrup and serve with fruit on the side.
This pudding is best when eaten on the same day.
* Made from the sap of the sugar palm tree, tan coloured palm sugar is usually bought formed in discs. It’s readily available in Asian markets or stores, but if you can’t find it, substitute with brown or raw sugar.
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