Unless you know someone who regularly makes sticky rice for meals, this Southeast Asian staple, although simple to make, requires a bit of planning and hands on time. You’ll also need a few pieces of special “equipment” that may not be found in your typical American kitchen.


  • Short grain, sweet rice. Three Ladies brand is one of our favorites. Approximately 1/2 cup uncooked rice per person. Sweet rice can be found at most Asian markets.

Equipment2Special Equipment
Check your local Asian market, preferably a Laos/Thai market.

  • Steamer Basket
  • Steamer Lid
  • Boiler Pot
  • Keeper Basket, optional
  • Straw Mat/Tray


Wash1. In a large bowl, rinse rice in cold water and gently rub the grains in your hands to clean the rice. Repeat as necessary until water is mostly clear.


2. Fill rice and bowl with cold water, about 2” more than rice level. Leave rice to soak for 2-10 hours. Overnight is best, but we usually end up soaking for 2-3 hours. Three Ladies Brand, pictured on left.


3. Drain the rice and transfer to steaming basket. Rinse the steaming basket with hot water to keep the rice from sticking.

4. Fill the double boiler pot with 3-4” water and place steam basket on top.

CookSnack5. Cover steam basket and rice with the cone shaped woven grass lid. Set heat on stove to medium-high.

6. Once water comes to a boil reduce to medium and steam rice for about 20 minutes. A snack is sometimes a must while we wait for the rice to cook.

Toss7. Holding the sides of the basket, flip the rice end over end in the basket. Steam for another 15 minutes.

8. Rinse the rice “keeper” basket with hot water just before the rice is done. Again, to keep from sticking.

ReleaseSteam9. On a large surface, preferably a woven mat, cool rice. Wet your work surface with water to prevent rice from sticking, wet a wooden spoon well to use to spread the rice out to cool it.

10. Once rice is not steaming hot, but still warm transfer in small pieces to the “keeper” basket.

Eat11. Serve immediately. Leftover rice may be stored in tupperware and reheated in the microwave. Usually, it’s still good for another day or so.

Sticky rice is best  eaten with your hands. We like to serve it with sliced ribeye and homemade hot sauce.Set the table with little bowls, for rice and for sauce, and eat happily and hungrily, family style. Thank you to our friend Rebecca Thao and her boys for showing us how to make this great rice treat!


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