Rich coconut-cream-infused rice topped with scrummy mango purée. Take a bite, close your eyes, and imagine life in the Tropics.
When we are finished teaching in Mongolia, we plan to fully embrace the tiny house movement and live full time in our Lance truck camper traveling all around North America. We have spent several summers living in our camper, which gives us a clear understanding of exactly what 120 square feet of living space means. Primarily relying on electricity generated by driving and by our solar panel has a big influence what type of equipment we use inside our tiny home.
In preparation for living large in a tiny kitchen, we are using this time in our small Mongolian apartment to vet products in order to see if they will meet our needs in our future full time tiny kitchen. Limited electricity, size, durability and multi-function are the top criteria we use to vet products. An additional criterion is whether or not we use a given item on a regular basis. At the end of the day, with a small oven, a small three-burner cooking range and limited counter and storage space, we give a good deal of thought to what we can live without.
Many people all over the world make rice on the stovetop. To eliminate the rice cooker we have relied on for many years, we decided to learn to make rice this way, too. Oh dear. My rice came out consistently bad – mushy, overcooked or undercooked – no matter what I did. With one epic failure after another, I handed the rice-making baton to Jack. He was more successful, but we both agreed that our rice just wasn’t as fluffy as the rice from our rice cooker had been. So we broke down and decided to buy a rice cooker. Now we’re convinced that we need to figure out a way to add this tool to our tiny mobile kitchen.
Our main criterion for a rice cooker was simple – it had to be small. After all, there are only two of us. Standard-sized rice cookers take up too much space and use too much energy. Since we live in Asia, finding a rice cooker shouldn’t be difficult, right? And finding rice cookers was easy. But in shop after shop, most of what we saw were massive in size. The average “small” rice cooker had a 10-cup capacity. Finally, after nearly giving up, we found a dust-covered, last-one-in-stock no-long-in-production Zojirushi rice cooker with a 3-cup capacity. Score!
Zojirushi is a brand we’ve had great success with in the past, so we wasted no time grabbing this cooker. As is the custom here, the sales clerk plugged it in, showed us that it indeed was in working order, and pointed out the six-month store warrantee. Once home, I immediately made a batch of rice to test our new gadget. Hot, steamy, fluffy, perfect rice. Yum!
Remembering a delicious rice dessert Thai friends had turned me on to, I recreated it using the batch of rice “I” just cooked. It is a simple dessert which is not too sweet, is packed full of tropical flavors, and is quick to make.
Sweet Coconut Rice with Mango Purée
- 1 cup Japanese style short-grained rice, cooked and hot
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut cream (or substitute with coconut milk)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup cubed mango
- honey, to taste
- toasted sesame seeds and crystallized ginger to garnish
- Put hot, cooked rice in a medium-sized bowl.
- Heat coconut and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour coconut mixture over rice and mix well.
- Let coconut mixture sit for 30 minutes, until coconut cream is absorbed into rice.
- Purée mango.
- Mix in honey to taste.
- Scoop coconut rice onto individual serving plates.
- Hollow out a bit of the top of the rice in order to make a well for the mango purée.
- Fill well will purée and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and crystallized ginger.