We are often asked how to make sticky rice. At our home in Thailand we use a traditional Bamboo Rice Steamer. Using a Bamboo Rice Steamer is not essential to make Sticky Rice, you may use any type of steamer, the only difference being that when not using a Bamboo Rice Steamer the rice should be wrapped in a piece of muslin or other clean cloth and raised up a little from the base of the steamer using for example a cake cooling rack to avoid the rice becoming too moist.

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How to make sticky rice.

First of all, Sticky Rice is an Asian short or long grain glutinous rice (Oryza glutinosa) that sticks together when cooked. It is completely different from long grain Jasmine or Basmati type rice which can also sometimes be slightly sticky when first cooked.


Before cooking Sticky or Glutinous rice, the rice should be soaked in water for 4-5 hours or overnight. Fill the water pot or water compartment of your steamer with water taking care that the water level is not high enough to reach the rice. The rice should then be drained, rinsed and drained again before placing in the bamboo steaming basket. If you are using a conventional steamer, wrap the rice in a piece of muslin before placing in the steaming compartment of your steamer. Some people wrap the rice in muslin even if they are using a bamboo rice steamer. Cover with a cloth or lid and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat and steam for about 30 minutes or until the rice becomes translucent. If you are cooking a large amount of rice, toss the rice in the basket about half way through the cooking period to move the upper layer of rice towards the bottom.

Sticky or Glutinous Rice is eaten with the fingers. A small lump of rice is pulled off and rolled into a ball using your fingers and then dipped into the food and eaten. Sticky Rice is normally served in small individual bamboo containers but may sometimes be served in a larger container for everyone to share. Any left over rice should be wrapped in a piece of muslin for later use.

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