Though more commonly associated with Thai food, glutinous rice, more commonly known as sticky rice, is a staple of East Asia -- specifically Laos, Thailand's northern neighbor.
Though most varieties contain the two main components of starch, amylose, and amylopectin, sticky rice only contains amylopectin. So when hot water interacts with the amylopectin-ridden rice, the rice becomes soft and sticky. The rice is often served as a side or even as part of the main dish, such as sticky rice balls or the base of a stir-fry.
To make sticky rice at home, it's important to obtain this amylose-absent rice, or else the rice will not stick together properly when cooked. Make sure your package of rice is labeled "sticky rice," "sweet rice," or "glutinous rice."
There are a couple different ways you can prepare sticky rice depending on what you prefer and the preparation means you have in your kitchen. Here are some common methods:
Steaming is the traditional method to use when making sticky rice. It's a simple process, but must be done well before your meal time:
Though not the traditional method, to make sticky rice on your stove you don't need anything fancy like a steamer -- all you need is a single large pot. This method is also faster than steaming, as you don't need to let the rice sit in water for nearly as long. Here are the steps:
This is the simplest way to make sticky rice:
Once you've made your sticky rice, the possibilities for dishes are endless. Sticky rice is a great complement for sweet and spicy foods, from everything between chicken and steak to mango. The dish can be served with Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese or Japanese cuisine. Here are some common ways to incorporate sticky rice into a meal:
This rice is similar to stir fry, with sticky rice's signature chewy texture. Play around with the ingredients until you make the perfect concoction of veggies.
This authentic Thai dessert is a sweeter take on sticky rice. Just use coconut milk, sugar, salt and tapioca starch to make a sauce and pour it over the fruit and rice.
Instead of slapping the sticky rice on the side of the main dish, make it part of the main dish in this tasty variation. It's a bit more complex than the previous recipes, but is a delicious Shanghai staple.