Jasmine rice is generally regarded as the most popular rice in Thailand although sticky rice comes a very close second. Actually in some parts of Thailand like the north and north east, sticky rice is much more popular than Thai Jasmine rice. I can guarantee that every single person in the north east knows how to cook sticky rice!
So What is Sticky Rice?
Sticky rice is sometimes referred to as sweet rice or glutinous rice. It’s not just used in Thailand, but in all parts of Asia. Thai Jasmine rice is already quite sticky compared to Indian long grain rice and some people actually confuse Jasmine rice with sticky rice. Sticky rice is far stickier though. You can actually roll it up into a ball it is so sticky.
Lots of Thais eat it by hand as you can just pick it up in a clump and dip it in your preferred dipping sauce. You may also know it from Thailand’s most popular desert, sticky rice and mango.
How to Cook Sticky Rice in a Steamer
Cooking sticky rice at home is pretty straightforward and you don’t nee a lot of equipment. Basically you only need a steamer and muslin cloth!
Decide on how much rice you want to cook and put it into a bowl. The next step is to wash the rice under the tap. This step is very important for sticky rice so don’t skip it, otherwise your rice will end up in a big gloopy mess! Wash it two or three times until the water starts to become clearer.
Next you have to leave the rice soaking in the water for at least two hours. It’s best if you can leave it to soak overnight but if you haven’t pre-planned then two hours is the absolute minimum you can leave your sticky rice before you start steaming it.
Once your rice has finished soaking you need to wash it again. It’s best to use a siv this time because you want to strain the water away afterwards. Wash the rice two or three times and you should notice that the water has become a lot clearer. This means you have got rid of the excess starch which would have casused your rice to become over sticky. This is the most common mistake when people don’t know how to cook sticky rice properly!
Now we are finally ready to start cooking the sticky rice! Once your steamer has begun to boil, place the muslin cloth in the top of the steamer an place your sticky rice on the muslin cloth. Use your hand or a spatula to gently level the rice then fold the muslin cloth over the rice.
It’s very important to make sure you leave some gaps around the muslin cloth so that the steam can circulate properly. If you don’t then your sticky rice will be cooked underneath but not on top!
Put the lid on and let it steam for 20 – 30 minutes. Use a fork to check it after 20 minutes. Taste a bit if you like to check whether it is ready or not. If not put the lid back on and give it a few more minutes.
Once your sticky rice has finished cooking lift the muslin cloth out and pour the rice into a bowl. Place a lid over the bowl and let it it settle for a further 20 minutes!