Perfect Steamed Thai Jasmine Rice Recipe
Jasmine rice is a particularly fine, medium-grain type of rice. It is fragrant when cooked, hence the name. The polished white rice is prepared without salt to balance the Thai flavors. Steamed jasmine rice is often referred to as 'khao suay' in Thai which literally means 'beautiful rice'. Please do not serve ordinary rice from the supermarket with Thai meals, it's not the same!
The secret of perfect rice lies in the quantity of water used - measure holding your finger on top of the rice - the water should reach just below your middle finger's first joint. All the water should be absorbed during cooking, leaving the rice firm and fluffy.
Rice only takes 20-25 minutes, with little attention (but don't let it burn!).
Traditionally cooked in an pan with a slightly curved sides, so the rice does not stick, over a charcoal stove. Here in the West, of course you can use a modern electric or gas stove. Today in modern Thailand the electric rice cooker is an every-day household item as is the propane gas bottle stove to replace the charcoal stove. Still in rural Thailand you can still find rice being prepared in the old fashioned way in an old rice pot blackened from the charcoal fire.
- 2 1/2 cups Thai jasmine rice
- 3 cups water
Place rice in a small saucepan (approx. 2-1/2 qt). Rinse rice by running cold water over two or three times to cover and pouring the water out. This rids the rice of excess starch powder and broken rice which makes the cooked rice mushy and sticky. Add just enough water to cover the top of the rice by 1/2-inch (approximately 3 cups).
A convenient trick is to place your middle finger, just touching the top of the rice in the pan. The water level should be just below the first joint of your finger, from the tip. No measuring needed.
Cover the pot with the lid. Place over medium to medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, another 10 minutes, until the water has completely evaporated.
Turn off the burner and allow rice to sit, covered, for at least another 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature (especially with spicy curries). Serves 2 to 3.
Recipe © Temple of Thai 2000; Image © iStockphoto.com/travellinglight;
Thai Jasmine rice is known called khao hom mali in Thai and is written ข้าวหอมมะลิ in Thai script.
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