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Have you been searching for the ultimate way to make your favorite sticky rice for dinner? You’re not alone in your love of sticky rice. This type of rice is a staple in most Southeast Asian countries and its likely due to the rice’s great versatility for different dishes.
If you have been planning to make your sticky rice solely for dinner, check out a few of our recipe ideas down below for a few more uses! Sticky rice can be served with savory sauces or even as a dessert.
If you’re new to the concept of what sticky rice is, let’s cover a few deeper details as to why its so ‘sticky’. Then you can read our step by step process of how to make your best sticky rice yet.
What makes sticky rice so…sticky?
Making your sticky rice perfect every single time may take some experience and practice. Yet, an understanding of just how this rice becomes sticky will make you more informed on the dish you’re cooking up! So, how exactly did sticky rice get its name?
Sticky rice is properly known as “glutinous rice” because of its glue-like qualities. This rice doesn’t contain the gluten that other rice’s have which makes it a great alternative for those who have gluten sensitivities.
The thing that really sets sticky rice apart from other rice comes down to its molecular makeup. With regular rice, like white rice, you have two components called amylopectin and amylose which provide the starch. Sticky rice only has amylopectin. Without those two molecular components present the rice becomes much more sticky.
How does it happen? The stickiness begins when hot water works its way into the rice during cooking. That water reacts with the amylopectin to create its own glue-like properties. Now that you have an idea on how your favorite rice gets so sticky, let’s dig into the best steps to making it in your rice cooker!
How to Prepare Sticky Rice the Right Way
When looking at the traditional approach used in Southeast Asian countries, you’re likely to find that sticky rice is made through the use of steam. This is because sticky rice doesn’t require nearly as much water as traditional rice when cooking.
But if you don’t have a steamer available for your rice you can depend on a modern day invention: the rice cooker. Using a rice cooker will nearly always guarantee you perfect rice every time. No longer will you have to worry about over cooking or undercooking. This means no mushy grains and certainly no unexpectedly crunchy mouthfuls.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Use the Right Amounts
This tip might come across as obvious but it’s actually quite easy to mess things up when measuring your water to rice ratio. Be careful with your water proportions and stick to a 3:2 rule. That means if you have 3 cups of rice then you’ll need 2 cups of water.
2. Rinse Your Rice
If you’ve never heard of rinsing your rice prior to cooking it, you may be new to rice making. However, some people have gone years without realizing that their rice will cook better after it has been rinsed. Why? Washing the rice removes the surface starch as well as any debris that can cause it to become gummy while cooking.
3. Let it Soak!
You may enjoy a long soak in the tub after a tough day and so will your sticky rice. This is because sticky rice has a hard outer shell that needs to be softened before cooking. This also helps give the rice a better taste and a much softer texture. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes or longer before cooking.
4. Start the Cooking
This part is simple, put your rice and water into your rice cooker and switch the machine to “cook”. If you want, you can add a little more flavoring to you rice by putting in a small amount of salt (a teaspoon or less) to allow the natural flavors to ‘pop’.
When your rice cooker has finished its cycle, allow the rice to rest in the pot for a bit. The longer you allow your rice to rest the more flavorful it will be when you are ready to eat it.
Recipes For Your Sticky Rice
Getting your sticky rice cooking method down to a perfect science is only the first step in creating delicious recipes. As mentioned earlier, sticky rice is incredibly versatile. Here are a few different recipes to try for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert:
Burmese Sticky Breakfast Rice
- Soak 150 grams of sticky rice for an hour before rinsing.
- Fry 1 thinly sliced onion in 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Stir in ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric and 2 tablespoons of dried shrimp.
- Add your rice, 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on a low temperature until the rice is cooked.
- Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.
Sweet Red Beans and Sticky Rice
- Cook a half cup of rinsed adzuki beans in 2 cups water for 1 hour, covered, until they become soft.
- Add ⅓ of a cup of caster sugar and allow to simmer uncovered until it is reduced to a syrup.
- Steam 1 ½ cups of white sticky rice in a bowl.
- Combine ¾ of a cup of coconut milk in a pan with ⅓ cup caster sugar.
- Cook until sugar dissolves.
- Mix in the rice and then cool.
- Segment into 4-6 bowls, top with adzuki beans and add toasted sesame seeds for taste.
Black Sticky Rice Pudding
- Combine 1 cup of black sticky rice with ¾ of a cup of white sticky rice into a sauce pan with 6 cups of water and 4 bruised pandan leaves.
- Bring to simmer and cook, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes remembering to stir often.
- When rice is tender remove pandan.
- Add ½ cup of finely chopped palm sugar and cook for an additional five minutes.
- Add a teaspoon of salt, cool and serve with drizzled coconut cream.