How to make Thai sticky rice at home: khao niao is a staple in Northern and Northeastern Thailand, where it's a symbol of family and tradition. This versatile ingredient is the heart of Asian cooking and Thai desserts, with its sticky and chewy texture that perfectly complements hearty and savory dishes.
Sticky rice, also known as sweet rice or glutinous rice, is a grain that becomes sticky and clumps together when cooked. Its chewy texture and absorbing qualities make it a versatile favorite in Thai desserts and Asian dishes.
Sticky rice is the heart of Isan, Northeastern Thailand. In my birth region, khao niao isn't just food; it's a daily staple. Preferred by locals from the North to Laos, it's the grain that has stolen our hearts.
It's such a cultural staple that, believe it or not, I've never even spotted my grandparents with a bowl of jasmine! Sticky rice is a tradition that clings to every meal and event.
Why do we adore khao niaw? It's all about the experience of gathering with friends and family and enjoying a communal meal. It clings to your fingers, making it the perfect companion for zesty dips, smoky grilled meats, and spicy salads.
Isan is like a large community of people that loves sharing, caring, and inviting anyone and everyone to dig in. A single plate, a crowd of friends, all diving into the same pot of perfectly steamed sticky rice.
We roll it, we dip it, we share it. Thai food is all about the laughter, the chatter, and the communal eating.
If you haven't been to Northeastern Thailand yet, what are you waiting for? Our culture, and our sticky rice, are waiting to give you the warmest welcome!
This method requires kitchen tools you might already have. A steamer with a cotton cloth ensures a perfect sticky rice texture without burning.
A specialized aluminum steamer pot and a bamboo basket are designed specifically for making khao niao. It's a traditional method that yields the best results and most authentic taste.
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Celebrate authentic Thai cuisine with this classic how to make Thai sticky rice recipe, or khao niao, a beloved staple in our culture.
Begin by placing 21oz / 600gr of sticky rice in a large bowl. Cover with 4.5 cups / 800ml of room temperature water. Allow the rice to soak for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight, at room temperature for optimal results.
After soaking, fill the bottom part of your steamer halfway with water.
After soaking, drain and wash the rice thoroughly, repeating the process three times or more if needed.
On the steamer tray, lay a cheesecloth, spreading the sticky rice on top evenly. Fold the cloth over to cover the rice completely.
Once your water is boiling, place the steamer tray over it and secure the lid. Let the rice steam for 20 minutes on medium heat. If you're new to cooking sticky rice, check midway to ensure the water hasn't completely evaporated (in this case, the rice will burn).
Carefully remove the lid, fluff the rice with a spoon, and transfer it to a bamboo basket or heatproof bowl. Keep it covered until ready to serve to prevent drying out.
Similar to the regular method, soak 21oz / 600gr of sticky rice in 4.5 cups / 800ml of room temperature water in a large bowl. Leave it for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Fill a traditional aluminum steamer pot (specifically for Thai sticky rice) with 2 inches of water. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Drain the soaked rice, then place it in the bamboo basket for steaming. Rinse the rice directly in the basket under room temperature water.
Set the basket atop the boiling water in the steamer pot and cover.
After 15 minutes, gently handle the basket to flip the rice — this helps prevent sticking and ensures even cooking.
Continue steaming for an additional 5 minutes. Afterward, remove the lid, fluff the rice with a spoon, and transfer it to a bamboo serving basket.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.