Thai sticky rice is especially popular in the North East of Thailand and makes an excellent basis for your next Thai meal. With our imported Sticky Rice Steamer (huwt neung kao in Thai) making delicious sticky rice every time is simple.
A Thai Sticky Rice Steamer is a rather odd piece of kitchenware, when first seen. But upon consideration, it becomes evident that the design is rather ingenious. The hat-like shape of the bamboo basket allows it to sit inside the hour-glass shaped aluminum pot, so that the food is steamed on all sides, not just the bottom. When steaming sticky rice, the rice forms into a ball in the basket so that it can be flipped by grasping the top of the basket so that it cooks evenly (which is the preferred method of some Thai cooks). The steamer basket is also ideal for steaming parcels of food, like banana leaf wrapped sweets (kanom) and haw mohk (Thai fish mousse).
The first time you use the sticky rice steaming basket, we recommend that you soak the basket in water for about 6 hours. This will alleviate the taste of the bamboo, which naturally occurs. This taste will lessen the more you use the basket, but it does add a delicious aroma to the steamed rice. After many years of service, your bamboo steamer may suffer from natural wear and tear, but you can prolong the life of the basket by covering any holes that develop at the bottom by covering with a cheesecloth to prevent the rice from falling into the pot.
To cook the rice, you will need to pre-soak the sticky rice at least 4 hours. Steam the rice in the conical-shaped basket placed over the steamer pot containing boiling water. Cover the rice with any pot lid while the rice steams. Steam the rice until cooked through - pinch a rice grain with your finger tips to test if it is done or not. The rice will become translucent when cooked through. The steaming time depends on how long you have soaked the rice and the moisture of the raw grain itself, but cooking time will be approximately 15-20 minutes.
Sticky rice is the staple food of the North and Northeast of Thailand and is usually served with grilled meats, especially chicken (gy yang), spicy dipping sauces, and spicy salads (yam). It is best enjoyed eaten with the hand, rolling and dipping it into the juices of the dishes and sauces.
Serve steamed sticky rice in our traditional serving baskets accompanied by barbecue chicken (try Lobo Seasoning Mix for Grilled Chicken) or pork and sweet chili sauce. Sticky rice can also be served as a dessert such as Mango with Sticky Rice.
To clean the basket, the majority of times you can simply brush off dried sticky rice with a hard brush. But for deeper cleaning (such as when you cook other things in steamer besides rice, to sanitize the basket after washing with warm water and soap, dip the basket into a solution of one part bleach to five parts water and allow to air dry. The sanitization process only takes place when the bleach reacts with the germs. It makes no sense to apply bleach and immediately wipe things dry, so allow to air dry. Once dry store until your next use, and then soak in warm water again to remove any residue of bleach before use.
Not only do the people of the North and Northeast of Thailand prefer sticky rice over jasmine rice, but also their neighbors in Laos and the hill tribes of Hmong and Yao people living in the mountainous regions and some Vietnamese and Chinese. Sticky rice is very different from Jasmine Rice, being a glutinous short-grained rice. Sticky rice must be steamed. No self respecting Lao person would dream of boiling it. A special pot (Mohr Nung) and a special steaming basket (Houit) yield the only acceptable results. There are differences in quality of sticky rice. The more broken pieces of rice kernels the more clumpy and less desirable will be the result. In addition, a new crop of rice will always have a stronger aroma and will require less time soaking before steaming.
Handmade Bamboo Basket (houit in Thai) - Width 17", Height 13". Made in Thailand (unbranded). Huwt Nung Kow.
Aluminum Steamer Pot (mohr nung in Thai) - Width 9", Height 9". Made in Thailand. Diamong brand.
See a video about how to make Sticky Rice: