Two popular types of Thai rice are used most often in Thai cooking, Jasmine and sticky rice. Find out the differences between the two types of rice below.
Rice is a main staple in Thai food. It’s hard to think of Thai food without rice in it. It’s like thinking about making a sandwich without the bread.
Jasmine rice is the most popular and well-known rice served alongside many Thai dishes. Thai Jasmine rice has a fluffy but semi-sticky feel with a milky white appearance when cooked. It offers a subtle yet inviting earthy sweetness that reminds me of home. Contrary to many false beliefs about the smell of Jasmine rice smelling like Jasmine flowers. It doesn’t smell anything like Jasmine flowers whatsoever. The name Jasmine rice comes from the similar look the milky white rice grains have compared to that of the white Jasmine flowers.
Sticky rice, sweet rice, or glutinous rice (Khao Neow) is the main staple of North and Northeast Thailand. Though sticky rice wasn’t cultivated as much as the popular Jasmine rice, sticky rice was important in our regional cuisine. I grew up eating sticky rice in the Isaan (Northeastern) region.
If you have ever visited Thailand, you most likely found sticky rice served with many delicious street foods installed throughout Thailand. It’s especially fun for kids, and adults alike, to eat sticky rice since you can roll up the cooked sticky rice and eat it with your fingers.
There are a couple of specific things you must know about sticky rice. One, there are two common types of Thai Sticky Rice: white and purple sticky rice, although purple Thai sticky is not as popular. Second, sticky rice requires a special way of cooking. It cannot be cooked the same way as Jasmine rice. Below is important information I want to share about sticky rice:
White Sticky Rice
Sticky rice must first be soaked in water for several hours before cooking. The cooking process is to steam the rice; rather than submerge the rice in water in the rice cooker, pot, or instant pot.
Purple Sticky Rice
The purple sticky rice is very similar to the white sticky rice. However, it is more dense and starchy in texture. You’d prepare the purple sticky rice the same way, but here’s an important step many people miss. You MUST combine the white sticky rice with the purple sticky in a ratio of 3-1 first before soaking and steaming the rice. The reason is because of the heavier and starchier texture of the rice, as mentioned above.
There you have it for Thai Rice. There are so many different types of rice out there. Supposedly, there are over 40,000 different types of registered rice! Holy Moly! I’m glad we will use only 2 or 3 types of rice in this blog. Now, grab a bag, or two, or three, of Thai rice and start cooking. Here’s a great recipe for how to cook Thai sticky rice. Enjoy cooking!
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