Friday, January 16, 2015

My Lao Kitchen: Sticky Rice

Here in Laos sticky rice is a staple. It is one of the few truly Lao foods and therefore natives are very proud to call it their own. I haven’t had a Lao meal where sticky rice wasn’t served in abundance. Surprisingly though Lao people are for some reason convinced that foreigners can’t eat it. “Can you eat sticky rice?” they ask before the meal. “Yes,” I say in fact I really like sticky rice.

As stated in the name sticky rice is very sticky. The rice is different than regular steamed rice so if you’re at the market make sure you don’t just pick up any bag of rice. Sticky rice is special because when you cook it the rice clumps together making for one giant glob. Once the rice is finished cooking you pack it into a little basket and serve it with laap, omelets, papaya salad, fish, soups, basically anything and everything. Now don’t take this as absolute fact because I am still learning the art of how to eat sticky rice, because no you don’t just eat sticky rice there is a specific way. My students taught me to grab a fistful of rice and to sort of squeeze it in your hand into an oval shape. Then you pull off a little piece with your other hand and squeeze it so it is flat and round and use it as a makeshift spoon to eat your laap or papaya salad or whatever other dish you are having.

Sticky Rice Recipe:
2 cups of sticky rice
4-5 cups of warm water

You will also need a: Large pot and a steamer basket

Pour the sticky rice and water into a large pot. Let the sticky rice soak for 24 hours. Drain the sticky rice into the steamer basket. Boil water in the pot and place the steamer basket over the pot and leave for about 20 minutes. 

Take the rice out of the steam basket, mold together, and place it in serving basket. 

Note: Sticky rice does not make good leftovers due to the fact that it dries out very quickly. So I suggest making only what you will need for one meal. Between my roommate and I, 2 cups was way to much.  


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