Sticky Rice: Line a steamer basket insert of a pot with fresh corn husks or soaked dried corn husks (used as Mexican tamale wrappers). Spray the corn husks with vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking. Spread the soaked rice evenly over the husks.
Fill the pot with water to come to just under the steamer basket insert. Put the steamer basket insert into the pot, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Steam the rice for at least 20 minutes, or longer. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl when ready to serve. Cover the rice with some corn husks to keep it moist and warm.
Reheating Sticky Rice: Divide the leftover cooked rice into small serving portions, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. The rice will keep well for 2 to 3 days. The easiest and best way to reheat the sticky rice is by microwave. Warm the wrapped sticky rice in the plastic it was store in on high power for1 to 2 minutes, or until hot. To reheat by steaming, unwrap the sticky rice and follow the above method for cooking sticky rice.
After you've prepared the rice, make the sauce syrup: Combine the sugar, palm sugar, pandanus leaves, if using, and the coconut milk in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Without increasing the heat, allow the coconut cream to come to a gentle boil, and boil and thicken for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover to keep warm. Leave the pandanus leaves in the syrup until you are ready to make the syrup for topping, or, if you are using extract, add it now.
To make the topping syrup, if you are using pandanus leaves, pull them out of the sauce syrup and place them in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the sugar, salt, and coconut cream. Heat over low to medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve; do not let the coconut cream boil, or it will curdle. Let the syrup simmer slowly until it thickens, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Leave the panadus leaves in the syrup until ready to be used. Or, if you are using extract instead, add it now and stir well. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and set aside.
To make sticky rice dessert, put the hot rice in a large mixing bowl. Pour the warm sauce syrup over the rice, mixing well with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be soupy. Cover tightly with clear plastic wrap and let the rice absorb the syrup for about 10 minutes, then stir the rice mixture again with the wooden spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap again and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
To shape the rice for serving, dip your hands in a bowl of cool water and shake off excess droplets. Scoop a handful of rice at a time from the bowl and mold it into an oval shape. Or shape the rice by using a rubber spatula to scoop up a mound of rice onto a large oval wooden spoon, shape it with the spoon, and transfer the mound to a serving platter. The rice may stick to the spatula, so dip it in cold water and shake off excess droplets before scooping more rice.
Put the rice on a serving platter or individual plates. Spoon the thickened coconut syrup topping over the rice. Garnish with sliced fruits, such as, mango, pears, peaches or kiwi.
Recipe courtesy of Su-Mei Yu