In northern Thailand and Laos, sticky rice is served at every meal, much like bread in Europe. Diners form a couple of tablespoons of rice at a time into a small ball, then use it to pick up a chunk of meat or vegetable, or to soak up sauces.
1. Cover rice with 2 to 3 inches cold water in a large bowl and soak at room temperature for at least 3 or as long as 12 hours.
2. Line with cheesecloth a steamer basket, the steamer insert of a pasta pot, or a footed colander set over a bowl of water. Drain the rice, place in the steamer, and steam, covered, over boiling water until shiny and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Toasted Sticky Rice Powder
Makes about 1/4 cup
This powder is added to a wide range of dishes in northern Thailand and Laos, adding a slightly sweet, slightly nutty taste undertone. You can toast the rice well in advance - toasted whole rice will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 weeks - but for the best flavor, grind the rice into powder just before using it in a recipe.
1. Toast rice in a dry, small, heavy skillet over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes, then cool. Grind to a powder with mortar and pestle or electric spice/coffee grinder.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new, and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. You have the power to keep us cooking, sharing these stories, and helping you in the kitchen.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table.
Copyright 2004 by John Willoughby
John Willoughby served as executive editor at Gourmet, senior editor at Cook's Illustrated and has co-authored eight cookbooks, including James Beard award-winner The Thrill of the Grill. He writes for publications such as The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Metropolitan Home and Saveur.