Kao Niaow Ma Muang: Enjoy this exotic Thai dessert

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Last Updated on September 28, 2022

I didn’t know rice’s history was very old; it has been part of most cuisines for 4,000 years. Since then, people have found several ways of using this humble grain. There are salty and sugary dishes, beverages and even alcoholic drinks made with rice.

I didn’t know rice’s history was very old; it has been part of most cuisines for 4,000 years. Since then, people have found several ways of using this humble grain. There are salty and sugary dishes, beverages and even alcoholic drinks made with rice.

This humble grain has shown to have no boundaries; there is no single culture that does not have a rice-based preparation in its gastronomy repertoire.

I just think of those rice dishes in my country and those in other latitudes. Just to name a few: Paella in Spain, Risotto in Italy, and Biryani in India.

Sugary rice preparations

As with salty preparations, almost every country also has a tasteful and sweet dish made with rice. Cakes, porridges, cookies, pies and fritters are good examples of how rice is used for making our life sweeter.

Among the vast list of rice desserts and without fear of being mistaken, the most popular dessert made with this grain is rice pudding.

Who has not tried a creamy rice pudding? Maybe, there is no show of hands. The reasons are so simple: making rice pudding only requires a few ingredients and easy steps.

This dessert is so versatile that all its variations perfectly reflect the culture and local ingredients where it is made.

Rice pudding around the world

Rice pudding has many names as ingredients for making it unique. Some of them are:

  • Arroz Doce from Portugal.

  • Kheer is from India.

  • Arroz con Leche in Spain and Latin American countries.

  • Biko from Philippines

  • Kao Niaow from Thailand.

Please, don’t get confused as I did, they are all rice puddings. Their base is always the same rice, milk, sugar, and some flavouring given by herbs and spices. Flavouring is what identifies a rice pudding to a specific country.

In Latin America, it tastes like cinnamon and vanilla. In Thailand, coconut and mango are the key ingredients. Cardamom and raisins identify Indian rice pudding.

In my modest opinion, no matter its origins, rice pudding will always be the preferred rice dessert, because it is considered a comfort and delicious food. And another extra point, it is very easy to cook.

Cooking a delicious rice pudding

Preparing delicious rice pudding is very easy. Once you learn how to make rice pudding, you can prepare any version of it.

I have already tried some variations of rice pudding, but sometimes I want to try a more exotic type. But, with many variations, it could be very difficult to choose one.

Despite being tasteful with a ton of sugar dessert, I will try to be faithful to my healthy trend, but still, make a delightful version of rice pudding. So, I will cook a variation that includes fresh and beneficial ingredients, and it would be the Thai rice pudding: Kao Niaow Ma Muang.

Making Kao Niaow Ma Muang

This is a typical dish in Thailand. Its name means, more or less, sweet sticky rice with mango. It is a dessert commonly sold in the streets as a snack, you can also eat it as a fresh breakfast in the summertime. It’s also amazing as a dessert after Vegan Thai Massaman Curry.

Making this version of rice pudding only requires a few ingredients and cooking the sticky rice in the proper way to get the well-known creaminess.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 cup of sticky rice (also known as sweet glutinous rice or Thai sweet rice).

  • 1 cup of water.

  • 1 cup of coconut milk.

  • 2 ripe mangoes.

  • ½ teaspoon of salt.

  • 5 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Coconut Sauce:

  • ½ cup of coconut milk.

  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

  • 1 tablespoon of water.

  • A pinch of salt.


  1. Rice should be soaked for 2 hours in tap water. Drain and rinse it thoroughly until the water comes off clear.

  2. In a medium sized saucepan pour the rice with the water, coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt. Combine all ingredients very well.

  3. Cook this mixture at medium heat until boiling. Then, reduce to low heat and simmer until rice is soft and all liquid has been absorbed.

  4. Remove from the heat and let the rice sit for a while.

  5. Use a small saucepan to make the coconut sauce by pouring coconut milk, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir very well.

  6. Warm this preparation at low heat.

  7. Dissolve cornstarch in the water and add to the sauce, stirring constantly.

  8. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken. 

  9. Then turn off the heat and put it aside.

  10. For serving, place a portion of the sticky rice, and add the sauce all over It. Cut mangoes into bite-sized pieces, and place them on a side of the rice pudding.

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