NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
If you’ve eaten at a Thai restaurant, you’ve probably had sticky rice. In many parts of Southeast Asia (Laos and Northern Thailand, for example) eating with your hands is still totally cool, and sticky rice is how they get the job done.
Sticky rice is also referred to as “glutinous rice” but that doesn’t mean it has gluten – it simply refers to its glue-like texture. It can also be labeled as sweet rice or mochi rice. It also comes in short or long grain varieties – the rice I used is short grain.
Rule number one in making sticky rice – you have to soak it in cold water for at least an hour (two is better, if you have the time).
Drain the rice in a colander, and then put the colander on top of a pot that has about two inches of boiling water.
Cover the rice with a lid that’s lined with a cheese cloth and let it steam for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, flip the rice with a spatula and let it steam for another few minutes. The rice should be nice and opaque; if not, give it a couple more minutes. That’s it!