Today, I’m going to show you how to make purple sticky rice, a very pretty and tasty glutinous Thai rice. You only need 3 ingredients to make purple sticky rice. White and black stick rice and water. Super easy!
What Makes Thai Sticky Rice Purple?
Purple sticky rice is made from two types of sticky rice, the white and black glutinous rice, combined at a certain ratio to make the perfect purple color. (2 cups white sticky rice to ⅔ cup black sticky rice)
There’s usually more white rice than black, and they’re soaked together in water for a few hours allowing the black rice to release its natural violet color. This dyes the white sticky rice, turning the entire bowl of soaked rice into a beautiful shade of purple. The more black rice you use, the deeper the purple color of the rice.
How is Purple Sticky Rice Made?
Purple rice is made by combining black sticky rice and white sticky rice. Soak it in water for several hours, drain and rinse out a couple of times before cooking then steam it in a steamer. You only need 3 ingredients to make purple sticky rice. White and black stick rice and water. Super easy!
Is Purple Sticky Rice the Same as Black Sticky Rice?
Yes, sort of. The purple rice is made from black sticky rice combined with white sticky rice. This rice is sometimes called black glutinous, sweet, or sticky rice. Look for a small package sold in the Asian market for those labels. They are usually positioned near the white sticky rice.
How Long Does Purple Rice take to Cook?
Purple sticky rice takes a little bit longer than the white sticky rice to cook because the grains are usually unpolished and the bran has not been removed like the white rice, making the black rice whole grain rice. The extra later thickness in the grains requires a longer cooking time. The rice must be soaked in water for at least 5 hours or overnight before steaming it. It takes about 20-25 minutes for the rice to cook on the stovetop.
Is Purple Rice Healthier Than White Rice?
Yes. Because the black glutinous rice is whole grain rice, it is healthier than white rice. Since the bran is left untouched on the black rice the nutrients haven’t been removed making the rice a healthier option. Black rice has more iron, protein, and fiber than white rice, making it a perfectly healthy option.
What does Purple Sticky Rice Taste Like?
Steamed purple sticky rice tastes like cooked white sticky rice. It’s slightly more el-dente than the white rice with a chewy and nutty flavor with a subtle sweetness to it.
What is the Purple Sticky Rice Ratio?
When making Thai purple sticky rice, you want to have the rice ratio correct or the rice will not cook well. You want to have more white glutinous rice than black rice. The combining of the two kinds of rice in water helps extract the violet color from the black rice. That purple color when released dyes the white rice making the entire combination purple after a few hours of soaking them together in the water. Since black rice takes longer to cook, you want to use less of it than white sticky rice.
How to Make Thai Sticky Rice?
- Combine both rice together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the water, and use your clean hands to mix the black and white rice together until the rice are evenly combined. Watch the water turn light lavender, it’s magic! (: Let it soak for at least 5 hours, longer is ideal.
- Drain the dark purple water from the rice and rinse in water 2 more times until the water is somewhat clear. See how beautiful the rice is with the violet hue!
- Fill the bottom of your steamer with enough water to boil your rice for 20-25 minutes. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the rice at all or it will turn the rice soggy. Wet the cheesecloth, place it in the center of the steamer, and put the drained rice in it.
- Wrap the cheesecloth completely around the rice. Place a lid over the cheesecloth and turn the stovetop to high heat and start the steaming process. You can use any type of steaming tool you have. See notes on tools used to steam sticky rice.
- After 20-25 minutes the rice is ready, let cool for 5 minutes, carefully remove it from the hot cheesecloth to a rice basket or a medium-sized serving container, spread the rice around evenly, and let it cool 5-10 more minutes before serving. I usually sprinkle a little salt on it before rolling the rice with my fingers into whopper-sized balls. Sample it before serving. Take note of the sweet smell of the rice too—it’s such an aromatic and comforting smell! Enjoy your fun and beautiful purple sticky rice! Serve alone or on the side with a dipping sauce, Thai cold spicy vegetable salads, or Thai grilled dishes.
Tools Needed for Making Purple Sticky Rice
- Steamer. You’ll need a steamer for cooking the purple sweet rice. Any type will do. If you don’t have a steamer, use a sieve to place over a soup pan. Just be sure the sieve is not touching the water in the bottom of the pan or the rice will get very soggy. Pictured below is the traditional bamboo basket over a thin aluminum pot, used for steaming sticky rice.
- Cheesecloth. You want to use a cheesecloth to wrap the uncooked soaked purple rice in before placing it inside a steamer. It will help with easy cleaning up and it helps the rice cook more evenly with the added layer of wrapper.
Tips on How to Store Cooked Purple Sticky Rice
- I like to store my cooked sticky rice in a bamboo basket at room temperature. Try to use it up in a day or two if possible or it will harden.
- You can also store sticky rice in food containers and store it in the fridge for 3 days. The rice will harden but you can lightly rub some water on the surface of the rice then microwave it for 1 minute or so before serving again.
- You can also portion out the sticky rice into smaller Ziplock bags to keep in the refrigerator but be sure to let the rice cool off to almost room temperature before storing it in plastic to prevent the leaching of toxic chemicals into your rice.
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