You get sticky rice if you overcook it, and that's not a good thing. But Sticky Rice is a good thing if you order it at Jasmine Thai & Vegetarian Restaurant.
A few months ago, Ty Agee, owner of Miss Polly's Soul City Café, told me how much he liked the Sticky Rice with Mango at Jasmine. I'd never heard of it.
I'm glad I visited Jasmine this week instead of waiting until fall or winter. You can get Sticky Rice with Mango only in spring and summer when mangoes are in season, said Pam Fong, who owns the restaurant.
Pam's husband, Justin Fong, who is the cook, told me how he makes Sticky Rice. This isn't just throw rice in boiling water for 20 minutes and it's done. Instead, you put rice in water and let it get soft. Then you put it into what looks like an upside-down straw hat. That "hat" goes inside a pot of water. You bring the water to a boil and steam the rice for about 15 minutes. The grains get larger and softer. You then put the rice in a bowl and add sugar and coconut milk.
In Bangkok, where Justin and his wife are from, Sticky Rice or Khao (rice) Neaw (sticky) is sold without sugar or coconut milk on street corners and served at meals as a side dish with cucumbers and other fresh vegetables,
Pam brought my rice to the table. She decorated the plate with a cluster of small red roses she picked from their rose bush in front of the restaurant.
After that first bite, I became a fan of Sticky Rice with Mango. The rice is almost like a candy. But the rice and mango are not cloyingly sweet. I would eat Sticky Rice with peaches, watermelon or blackberries, but mango is the perfect balance.
Jasmine Thai & Vegetarian Restaurant is at 916 S. Cooper; (901) 725-0223.
-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; firstname.lastname@example.org