Dianne Vicheinrut | Highway Inn

Dianne Vicheinrut

spent more than 20 years working in the restaurant business, with a focus on Hawaii Regional Cuisine. “I loved being able to work with local farmers and share their crops, like Hawaiian hearts of palm, sea asparagus and tropical fruits,” she says. Now a financial advisor, working with individuals, families and business owners to achieve their financial security, and “retired” from the restaurant business, food still remains a passion for her. She is a board member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Hawai‘i Chapter, and loves cooking with her mother and sharing Thai culture with friends and family. The recipe she shares with Tūtū’s Kitchen is a classic Thai dessert: Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream.

How did you learn to cook?

My mother is the cook of the family. It’s how she provided for us. She came to the US as an exchange student from Thailand, met my father and they opened up restaurants after they graduated. Although we were far removed from Thailand, my mother made sure that she taught us about the food and culture of where we came from. She raised us to speak the language, follow the traditions and values and enjoy the food. She taught us to look at each grain of rice and appreciate that it was the work of someone who grew and harvested that food for us.

What is the background of this dish?

I was born in California, but we lived in Thailand until I was five. When we moved back to the US, my mother loved to tell stories about her childhood, and I could picture her climbing the trees to pick and enjoy fresh fruit. She always had a fruit bowl on the kitchen table, and I remember her excitement when she was able to find a tropical fruit that reminded her of her childhood. Mango season was particularly memorable because she would make this dish. My mother was not a baker, and we didn’t grow up learning to make cakes and cookies. Thai food is about many flavors that are combined to create the perfect balance, and my mother taught us to appreciate how the creamy, savory rice, sweet mango, a touch of salt and the crunch of toasted mung beans all come together in this dish.

Thai Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream is our June 2019 Tūtū’s Kitchen dish