I had but two rules when it comes to ordering Thai food:
1.) How is the pad thai
2.) Do they have thai mango coconut rice
I’ll take a gamble with #1, largely because what qualifies as a “good” Pad Thai can be a very subjective thing; some like it sweet, some not too hot, and some that make you wonder if your “1-star” meal was the equivalent temperature of an actual star, such as the Sun.
But #2 – thai mango coconut rice – now that is a firm principle that I would not waver on.
Living in the city has its advantages in that I am given the luxury of choice. I have at least 10 Thai restaurants within a mile of where I live, and dozens more if I use Caviar, Amazon, or any other restaurant-delivery service. But, alas, this is also troublesome for people who are indecisive by nature.
For something that honestly only occupies but a speck of time in my life timeline, you’d think deciding upon a meal should be fairly quick. Haha.. no. Cue the “open link in new tab” clicks and weighted averaging of yelp reviews. Cause, you know, there’s always those Yelpers that leave 2 stars for their dinner merely because “the Wi-Fi was slow”.
(What if you missed out on the Pad Thai of your life because of that one Yelp review? Are these the existential questions that keep foodies up at night?)
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
A few weeks ago, I was listening to this TED Radio Hour Podcast all about decision-making. It explored whether having an overabundance of choices is even a good thing, and why we have such a hard time making choices. With so many possible consequences, how are we to choose?
In his talk, Malcolm Gladwell attempts to answer this: “Yes, your choices have consequences- but not predictable consequences.”
He drew a parallel to the deep conflict many high school seniors face when choosing which college they want to go to.
They spend incredible amounts of time researching the factors that would seem to influence their success in college: location, college size, research possibilities, or weighted Rate My Professor reviews.
Only once you’re out of college you find that the factors that comprise a good education were never even knowable beforehand; that you never know if you’ll have an adrenalized discussion with a student that would forever alter your career path…or maybe a grouchy TA that diminishes any remaining affection you had for physics.
Likewise, I would spend an inane amount of time trying to arrive at a decision for a Thai restaurant that has the best thai mango coconut rice and pad thai, only for the restaurant to cancel my dessert because THEY WERE OUT OF MANGO.
And the pad thai? A tad salty from my tears..but still good.
2 lessons here:
1.) Don’t fret too much about your decisions
2.) Learn to make your own thai mango coconut rice
Because honestly, it is so easy to make and the ingredient list is short: coconut milk, sugar, rice, and mango. Just don’t forget the mango.
What kind of rice should you use?
If you really want it to taste like the real deal, I suggest using sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice (it’s actually gluten-free so props to whoever dropped the ball and named it that).
You’d need to soak the sticky rice overnight and you’ll need a specialized steaming basket for it. I tend to use regular ‘ole jasmine rice because 11:00 cravings don’t sit well with an overnight delay.
Still interested in using sticky rice? Here is a good place to learn how to cook it, you overachiever you. Sometimes I like to go into the cultural background or science of the dish I’m making but I feel that that blog does a great job.
So without further ado, the recipe for thai mango coconut rice!