3 pandan leaves, tied in a knot, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (31⁄2oz) black glutinous (sticky) rice, soaked in cold water overnight and drained
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
70g (21⁄2oz) palm sugar
1 large ripe mango
150ml (5fl oz/1⁄4 pint) coconut milk
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 Bring 500ml (18fl oz) of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the pandan leaves or the vanilla extract. Add the rice and simmer for 40 minutes on a medium heat without the lid, stirring every 10 minutes, until the grains are soft and most of the water is absorbed. Some grains may have split, which is OK. Stir well and set to one side. If it's looking quite wet, drain off the water.
2 Meanwhile, toast the desiccated coconut in a nonstick dry frying pan on the lowest heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes until it is golden brown and crumbly. Grind in a food processor or spice or coffee grinder until it is a fine texture. Heat up 200ml (7fl oz) water in a small saucepan and add the palm sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Bring to a simmer on a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat, so that you have a rich syrup. Stir into the cooked rice.
3 Peel the mango skin away from the flesh and, using a sharp knife, cut the mango flesh into wedges from either side of the stone. Warm the coconut milk briefly in a small saucepan. To serve, divide the rice between 4 individual bowls and drizzle with the coconut milk. Place a few mango wedges on the side, then sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Lastly, sprinkle with a pinch or two of the toasted coconut.
4 This tart is a classic preparation that has been ‘Asianified’ with the inclusion of coconut and some of the fruits you’ll find at an Asian supermarket. While the tart is pretty, it also allows the flavour of the fruits to come through fairly unadulterated. One thing to note is that for a successful crème pâtissière free from lumps, you must whisk like crazy. I speak from experience.
Recipes from Chinatown Kitchen by Lizzie Mabbott (Michell Beazley, £10)