Making sticky rice – it’s easier than you’d think
I’ve been playing around with cooking and eating sticky rice lately. I’ve made it a few times and it’s surprisingly easy and more impressive on the plate than plain rice. I struggled to find out how to cook it online as most of the methods use it as a dessert rather than in a savoury meal so I wanted to write up this blog to encourage you to try it.
What you’ll need:
- Sticky rice (not regular rice – I buy mine from Fruit World in Silverdale and Asian shops obviously have it).
- Bamboo or pot steamer.
- Greaseproof baking paper or something else to line the steamer eg banana leaves.
Prepare it the night before:
Measure out your rice and rinse it. Use the same amount as you would use for regular rice – for two adults we use 1/2 cup. Put it in a large bowl and cover it with plenty of water. Leave overnight to soak – apparently it’s crucial to not skip this step but I’d be interested to know the minimum amount of soaking time required.
Prepare the rice when ready to cook:
While getting the rice ready start boiling some water in a jug – you’ll need it for cooking.
Take the rice that has been sitting in the bowl overnight and drain the water off. How you drain the water off here is important as the rice needs to be moist. You can pour it quickly over a sieve, drain it by tipping it against the side of the sink or use a lid over the top of the bowl and drain it that way. However you drain it, don’t squash or force all the water off the rice or leave it to drip dry in the sieve.
Cook the rice:
Put the lightly drained rice into the steamer on top of the baking paper (or similar) and cover with the steamer lid. Fill the wok with boiling water to just below the base of the steamer. You can see the level on the outside of the steamer as a join (see photo below). Obviously don’t put too much water in so the rice is sitting in water!
Reboil the jug as you may need to top the wok up during the cook.
Keep the water in the wok boiling at a fairly good pace and don’t lift the lid to check on it. I have mine on gas hobs on the wok ring and keep the flame fairly high – you might need to add more water (from your boiled jug) to stop it boiling dry.
Check the rice after 20 minutes. Take a small piece out and taste it – it’ll be cooked when it’s firm but not hard and opaque in the centre still (just like regular rice). The timing for cooking isn’t critical – it can handle ‘overcooking’ so if you think it’s a bit under leave it for another five minutes and test again and cook some more if necessary. The amount you have in the steamer and the degree of boiling will affect how long it takes to cook.
Get the rice ready for serving:
Once cooked lift the grease proof paper with the rice inside out and serve.
If you want to be fancy you can use the paper to shape the rice into balls for serving. Use the baking paper as ‘gloves’ to roll it around in*. It’ll be hot so you might also need to use your oven gloves for heat protection. If you’re not ready to serve straight away keep it wrapped in the grease proof paper and wrap it all in a clean tea towel to keep it warm. If exposed to the air it will harden.
Sticky rice holds together and becomes a stand alone component of the meal rather than regular rice which is more of a filler. You can use it like bread or naan to mop up sauces rather then needing cutlery to pick it up. It doesn’t keep that well as it dries out and hardens – I think it would need to be keep moist to re-use the next day.
A couple of meal shots below (sadly neither were good enough to feature at the top of the post). More sauce/liquid was needed in both cases.
- Obviously it’s not necessary to use boiling water from the jug – bring the water to the boil in the wok and add about five more minutes cooking time.
- *Don’t make the mistake of using a tea towel to roll the rice with – it needs to be something greaseproof!
- If you hate waste, as I do, don’t get too worried about using baking paper to line the steamer. Wash it after cooking and reuse it.
- I haven’t tried it but I think you could use this method in your kitchen pot and steamer instead of a wok and bamboo steamer.
- I’ve added dried tumeric to the soaking water which worked well. I think you could use the soaking stage to really flavour the rice so that’s something I’m going to experiment with and will update on how that goes!