Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Steam Sticky Rice in a Rice Cooker

After returning to the U.S. several years ago, my hankerings for Thai sticky rice with mango or Vietnamese "xoi" usually ended in despair.  Making steamed sticky rice just seemed too complicated, as it involved specialized bamboo steaming baskets or cheesecloth.  This meant I was not getting my sweet rice fix.  And that was sad, since I love sticky rice so.

But now I have found an easier way to make it!  All you need is a rice cooker with a steaming basket and a few other simple supplies.  You could also try this steaming method on the stove top with a stainless steel steaming basket; I think it would work just as well.  The one drawback to using a coffee filter is that it can affect the taste of the rice, which is why I recommend using unbleached filters and bamboo for best better results.

*UPDATE* (10/29/2010): For best results, try layering sweet corn husks in the steaming basket instead of a coffee filter. The husks let the pure sweetness of the rice radiate, untainted by paper flavors.                                         

Supplies Needed:
  • Corn husks (recommended) or coffee filter (preferably unbleached)
  • A rice cooker with a steaming basket insert
  • An empty mason jar or medium mixing bowl
  • 1 and 1/2 cups raw "sweet rice" from Thailand or Vietnam (not sushi rice)
  • Bamboo skewers, optional

Dry sweet rice
1.  Measure 1 and 1/2 cups of raw sweet rice and pour into a jar or bowl.  Add enough water to cover the rice, plus three inches on top.  Let soak for 3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Wet sweet rice before soaking
After hours of soaking, grains have expanded.
2.  Fill the bowl of the rice cooker with 1 and 1/2 inches of water. Then spread corn husks or a coffee filter out inside the steaming basket insert, making sure all of the holes are covered.  Place the steaming basket into the rice cooker.  Add some broken bamboo skewers if available (they will add a slight essence of bamboo to the steamed rice).

3.  Dump the soaked rice onto the middle of the filter in the basket.  Pat the mound down a little if necessary, so that the lid of the rice cooker does not touch it when closed.

Using corn husks instead of a paper filter gives rice a better flavor.

4. Turn on the rice cooker to the "Cook" setting.  Allow to steam for about 30 minutes.  Serve sticky rice hot or at room temperature.  Keep rice covered until ready to serve.
Sticky rice becomes slightly translucent after cooking.

    As for toppings, we often add peanuts and/or sesame seeds and coconut.   In Vietnam, we often ate it with shredded cooked chicken and soy sauce.  If you'd like some other authentic recipes for Thai sticky rice or Vietnamese "xoi," I recommend these:

      1 comment:

      Poekitten said...

      Oh this is a post after my own heart. I used to love to eat Xoi when I lived in Nam. I would get shredded pork on mine. What a great breakfast! I would go to Thailand every year and looked forward to the Mango Sticky Rice. I would get it several times (every day!) while I was there. I could also get it in Ha Noi but it wasn't the same. Still good though.