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.


  • 4 cups raw sticky (also called glutinous) rice (1 lb., 10 oz.)


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.


  • 1/4 cup raw sticky (also called glutinous) rice


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.


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.