Coconut and sticky rice pudding with lime and papaya salad

Here’s a great dessert to end a Thai feast. You’ll need a visit to an Asian supermarket to source the sticky rice, lime leaves and papaya - and plenty of time for soaking the rice. Well worth it.

Coconut and sticky rice pudding with lime and papaya salad

Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins


Prep time
over 2 hours
Cooking time
10 to 30 minutes


  • 200g Thai sticky rice
  • 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 50g palm sugar, roughly chopped
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves

For the Papaya Salad:

  • 1 ripe papaya
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 4 mint sprigs, to garnish


  1. Soak the rice in 300ml of water for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, even overnight. Drain the rice and wash it thoroughly.

  2. Take a bamboo steamer with a lid and line it with greaseproof paper, a banana leaf or some muslin. If using paper or banana leaf, use a skewer to pierce it with lots of holes. You want plenty of steam to get through, but don’t make the holes too large or the rice will fall out.

  3. Pour water into a saucepan that the steamer can sit on or use a wok – the water should be about 5cm deep. Place the rice in the steamer and put on the lid. Bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat and steam the rice for about 20 minutes or until it is tender.

  4. While the rice is cooking, pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and add the salt, palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves. Warm the milk through over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5–7 minutes so the flavours infuse, but do not allow it to boil.

  5. Cut the papaya in half and remove the seeds, then peel the flesh and cut it into neat slices. Divide the slices between 4 plates or arrange them on a serving dish and add the zest and juice of the limes and the mint sprigs.

  6. Once the rice is cooked, put it in a mixing bowl and gradually add three quarters of the infused coconut milk, a quarter at a time. Keep the final quarter for finishing the pudding. Mix well and leave to cool for 10–15 minutes. Drizzle over the remaining coconut milk at the last minute and serve with the papaya.