Toasted rice powder, Khao Khua, is one of the most basic yet essential Thai ingredients. White rice, usually sticky rice or Jasmine rice, is used to dry roast in a pan, then it's ground up into small pieces to the top on salads, sauces, and soups! The crunchy texture and nutty aroma elevate any dish it's used in! Only one ingredient is needed!
Traditionally, sticky rice is used toasting it until golden brown and then grounding it to a coarse texture in many Thai salads. Khao Khua is a pantry staple if you are a big fan of popular Thai-Isaan dishes like Larb, Nua Nam Tok, and a few spicy dipping sauces in Thai cuisine. Learn more about Thai pantry essentials with this ultimate guide.
When the sticky rice is toasted to a golden brown color, the aroma from the dry roasting rice reminds me of the roasted chestnut from State Fairs and European Christmas markets. Your entire kitchen will smell earthy with a deep, nutty fragrance that is very comforting to work with.
- Origin of Khao Khua
- Recipes that use Toasted rice powder
- Why this recipe works
- What is toasted rice powder?
- What goes into the Khao Khou recipe?
- How to make Thai toasted rice powder
- Helpful kitchen notes and tips
- Four helpful methods to grind up the toasted rice
- Kitchen Tools for Making Rice Powder Recipe
- More Thai food you'll love
- Toasted Rice Powder, Khao Khua
Origin of Khao Khua
Khao Khua, toasted rice powder, is commonly used in Thai and Lao dishes. The origin of the Khao Khua recipe comes from Laos and Northeastern Thailand. But ground rice is used in many recipes from all regions of Thailand.
In Thai, Khao means rice, and Khua means toast or roast. That is how the name comes about for this simple but important ingredient that adds great texture and fragrance to food in several Asian dishes.
Recipes that use Toasted rice powder
For recipes using Khao Khua, make Nam Tok, a delicious Thai grilled meat salad, and sprinkle some on my Laab Gai, a delicious chicken recipe. Sprinkle some ground rice on my Nam Jim Jeaw sauce, a delicious dipping sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, honey, and ground chiles.
Why this recipe works
- Thai toasted rice powder is arguably the easiest and simplest Thai recipe you will ever make! It requires only one ingredient. Yes. Just one. Plain sticky rice is all you need.
- And if you cannot find sticky rice (glutinous or sweet rice, all the same thing but called different names). You can use Jasmine rice instead.
- It lasts for a long time if kept in an airtight container!
- It adds the perfect crunchy, nutty flavor to salads or soups!
What is toasted rice powder?
Toasted rice powder, or Khao Khoa, is a simple, one-ingredient condiment from roasting sticky rice until golden brown and grinding it to a semi-chunky powder. I like having coarsely toasted mine rather than having a super fine powder. You can taste the texture and flavor of the toasted grain more when it's not so powdery.
What goes into the Khao Khou recipe?
As mentioned above, you only need sticky rice for Thai toasted rice powder. For the cooking tool, you’ll need a small to medium-sized pan for toasting the rice. Any pan will do for dry roasting.
I’ve used both non-stick, stainless, and cast iron. The Cast iron will burn the rice quicker since it conducts more heat, so be watchful if using it to make toasted rice. If sticky rice is unavailable, use Jasmine rice; it's a great substitute.
When buying sticky rice for Khao Khua, look for rice that is labeled "Sticky Rice," "Glutinous Rice," or "Sweet Rice," as labeled in the image below.
I have a helpful blog post about the different types of Thai rice you can check out.
How to make Thai toasted rice powder
- Place a dry pan, skillet, or wok (no oil added) over medium heat on your stove. Place uncooked sticky rice in the dry skillet and shake it slightly to level the rice grains so it gets toasted evenly.
- Toast the rice for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is deep golden brown. Stir continuously and shake the grains so it doesn’t stick together or burn.
- Once the rice is evenly toasted, turn the heat off, remove the pan, and transfer it to a plate. Let it cool to room temperature. Be sure to remove the rice from the hot pan, as the heat will continue to cook it after removing it from the stove.
- Once the rice is cooled, put it in a spice grinder and grind for a few seconds until most grains break into a semi-coarse powder. You can also use the mortar and pestle to grind the rice. Leave some in big grains for the extra pop and a crispy taste. Store in an airtight jar in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer! See kitchen notes for more storage tips.
Helpful kitchen notes and tips
- How coarse or fine of a texture you want your Khao Khua is entirely up to you! Some like it extra fine, while I like mine somewhere in the middle with extra chunks for the crunchy texture of my food!
- Toasting your rice on medium-low heat will work, too. It will take a bit longer. Watch for the golden hues on the rice when it's ready. I like to toast my rice on a higher heat since I always run short on time. (:
- A small food processor could work, but if making a large batch. Otherwise, it's too large and will not work well.
- Keep any left-grind rice in a small glass container with a label and place it in the freezer to keep the flavor and fragrance longer.
- Ground-up rice will last up to 2 months in the pantry before losing fragrance and flavor. It will last up to 4 months in the refrigerator and up to 1 year in the freezer!
Four helpful methods to grind up the toasted rice
- The best way to grind up toasted rice is to use a spice grinder. My favorite method! Super fast and easy!
- Use a small mortar and pestle to grind the rice. Use any that you have. Be careful not to pound too hard on the small clay ones, as they could break.
- Place the dry rice in a Ziploc bag, place a kitchen towel over the bag, and use a heavy kitchen tool to crush the rice.
- Use your coffee grinder. Wash and dry the coffee grinder well before adding the rice.
Kitchen Tools for Making Rice Powder Recipe
Yes! Jasmine rice is a great substitute for sticky rice for toasted rice powder. Basmati rice is my next recommendation. I’ve never tried toasting brown rice before, but if that’s all you have, give it a go and let me know how it turns out. (:
You can buy store-bought toasted rice powder from your local Asian grocery stores. I don’t recommend purchasing store-bought ones unless you have to. It is so easy and quick to make your own at home, and it’s much more fragrant and fresh when making it at home.
You can store the leftover Khao Khua in a small glass jar in your pantry for up to 2 months. Or you can store it in the freezer for up to 1 year!
Khao Khua is used in many Thai dishes in salads, sauces, and soups. It's a common ingredient for adding crunch and nutty flavor to top off different dishes.
There is no substitute for Khao Khua. However, different types of rice may be used as substitutes. Any white rice, besides sticky rice and jasmine rice, like long-grain white, Japanese short-grain, and Basmati rice, may be used.
More Thai food you'll love
- Nam Jim Jaew is a delicious Thai spicy dipping sauce.
- Thai basil fried rice
- Larb Gai, a simple Thai chicken salad
- Nam Tok, beef waterfall salad
- Crying tiger recipe, a delicious dish with grilled beef
- Bacon-wrapped Enoki mushrooms
- How to make sticky rice without a bamboo basket steamer
- Coconut sticky rice mango