Toasted Rice Powder – Khao Khua
Toasted rice powder or Khao Khua is one of the most basics yet essential ingredients in Thai cooking. Traditionally, sticky rice is used by toasting it until it’s golden brown and then grounding it to a course texture for use in many Thai salads. It’s 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.
Why this recipe works?
Thai toasted rice powder is arguably the easiest and most simple Thai recipe you will ever make! It requires only one ingredient. Yes. Just one. Plain sticky rice is all you need. And if you are unable to find the sticky rice, (glutinous or sweet rice, all the same thing but called different names). You can use Jasmine rice instead.
When the sticky rice is being toasted to a golden brown color, the aroma from the dry roasting rice reminds me of the roasted chestnut from State Fairs and also from Christmas markets in Europe. Your entire kitchen will smell earthy with deep, nutty fragrance that is very comforting to work with.
What is toasted rice powder?
Toasted rice powder or Khao Khoa is a simple, one ingredient condiment made from roasting sticky rice until it’s golden brown then grinding it to a semi-chunky powder. I like to have mine coarsely toasted 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. A Thai name for the roasted rice is Khao Khua = Rice Toasted. It is an essential ingredient in many authentic Thai salads from Isaan, where I’m from.
What goes into 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 type of pan will do for dry roasting. I’ve used both non-stick, stainless or cast iron. The cast iron will burn the rice quicker since it conducts more heat, so be sure to be very watchful if using them for making toasted rice. If sticky rice is not available, 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 Toasted Rice powder
- Place a pan over medium high heat on your stove up. Place dry sticky rice in the pan and shake the pan slightly to level out the rice grains so it gets roasted 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 the rice to a plate and let cool. Be sure to remove the rice from the hot pan as the heat will continue to cook it after removing from the stove.
- Once the rice is cool, put all of it in a spice grinder and grind for just a few seconds until most of the grains break up into a semi-coarse powder. You can use the mortar and pestle too if you prefer to grind the rice this way. Leave some in bigger chunks for the extra pop and a crispy taste in your mouth.
Can I use other types of rice to make the toasted powder?
Yes! Jasmine rice is a great substitute for sticky rice in making 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. (:
Can I buy toasted rice powder?
Yes, you can buy store-bought toasted rice powder from the Asian markets. I don’t recommend buying store-bought ones unless you absolutely 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.
What to do with leftover toasted rice powder?
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 6 months.
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