How do you eat a perfect piece of fruit? It’s hard to beat a crisp pink apple. Concord grapes by the handful. Vegetal rhubarb softened with heat and sugar. A drippy plum eaten over the sink. All to say: a perfect piece of fruit needs little—nothing really—of its cook.
Dusky rosé strawberries, with their delicate notes of peach and rose, need only a creamy, dreamy partner to sing. Enter our favorite summer dessert: Thai coconut sticky rice. Traditionally served with mango, the rice comes together without special equipment or much fuss; soaking allows the grains to be slowly, gently hydrated so they do not burst upon steaming (remember: you want sticky, not mushy rice). You can find sticky glutinous rice at most Asian grocers, as well as online. And if Driscoll’s Rosé Berries™ don't make it to your market this year, their red strawberries will work in this recipe just fine. —Food52
Place rice in a medium bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Let soak for at least 4 hours and up to 8.
Fill your largest, tallest pot with 1 inch of water. Drain rice in a large metal, fine-mesh colander, and set into the pot—making sure the bottom of the colander does not touch the water. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and let rice steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff and flip the rice, then steam a final 10 minutes.
When the rice has 10 minutes left to cook, open your can of chilled coconut milk. There should be a solid layer of cream on top—spoon that off (you should get 1 cup) into a bowl. Pour the watery liquid (also about 1 cup) into a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes.
When the sticky rice is just tender, transfer to a serving bowl, and pour 3/4 of the sweetened coconut liquid over. Fold the sauce in gently with a fork, fluffing—not breaking—the grains. It will seem like too much, but the rice will slowly drink it in. (If after 5 minutes your rice looks like it could take some more, add the rest.)
While the rice absorbs the liquid, make the coconut sauce: add the coconut cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the same saucepan. Bring to a steady simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Ladle over the sticky rice, and serve with the strawberries.