Sticky rice is commonly used in many Asian and Indian main courses and desserts as well as in dishes from around the globe. However, you will be hard pressed to find a box of sticky rice at your local grocery store. Fortunately, the recipe is uncomplicated even though it does require a few extra steps than regular rice. Whether you have a rice cooker or will be making it on your stove top, you can make the perfect sticky rice for your sushi, rice balls, or sweet rice.
Cooking Sticky Rice in a Rice Cooker
Before you begin cooking your rice, you must wash it to prevent it from ending up with a chalky taste. Even though the rice will end up in the chamber of the rice cooker, this step is best done in a large mixing bowl for easy handling. Measure out the desired amount of rice and add water until the rice is all fully submerged. The exact amount of water is unimportant as you will be pouring it out.
- Use a whisk to stir the rice and water until the water turns white. Pour out the white water and repeat this process. Continue until you have added fresh water 3 or 4 times without the water turning white.
- After the water is running clear off the rice, transfer it to the rice cooker and add an equal amount of water to the rice. For example, if 2 cups of rice are in the cooker, add 2 cups of water. Then simply leave the water and rice to sit without cooking for 30 minutes.
- Next, it is time to cook the rice. The rice cooker will have numbers on a dial that correspond to how much rice it is cooking. The number indicates how many servings of rice you plan to cook. If you have added the 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water, you will set the dial to 2 for the servings of rice; do not set the dial to 4 for the total measurement within the rice cooker.
- Once the rice is finished cooking for the appropriate time, unplug or turn off the rice cooker. However, you must let the rice sit covered for another 30 minutes for the desired sticky results. Do not transfer the rice to another container because that will disrupt the process.
After 30 minutes, your sticky rice is complete and ready to eat!
Making Sticky Rice in a Stove Top
If you do not have a rice cooker, you can still make delicious sticky rice on your stove top. To begin, follow the same steps in the recipe using the rice cooker. Rinse the rice until it runs clear. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes before proceeding.
When making sticky rice without a rice cooker, you will want to use a heavy-gauge pan with a flat bottom and a tight lid. Do not use a pan that has a concave bottom. A loose lid will allow the steam to escape. Also, a pan that is flimsy or thin will create a layer of burnt rice on the bottom while the top layer will not be fully cooked. A Dutch Oven will work nicely, but not necessary.
Unlike the recipe using a rice cooker, you will not use equal parts rice and water; you will use slightly less water. For 2 cups of rice, use 1.5 cups of water. If you are making more servings of rice, increase the water accordingly. For example, 4 cups of rice will use 3 cups of water.
- Add the rice and water to the pan and turn the heat on medium-high. Leave uncovered until the water starts boiling. After the water boils, turn the heat down as low as possible and cover with the tight sealing lid. Leave it sit for 15-20 minutes without lifting the lid to stir the rice or check on its progress. Doing so will release the steam (the water) and produce hard rice.
- After 15-20 minutes, turn off the heat but do not remove the lid. Let it stand for another 10 minutes to allow it to settle naturally. This will prevent your rice from being dry on top and wet on the bottom. When the 10 minutes are up, fluff your sticky rice lightly with a fork and enjoy!
With both methods, make sure you are using raw rice; instant rice will not work. Also, experiment with the flavor of your rice. Adding a little lavender or a few orange peels to the bottom of the pan adds an exotic touch. For more intense flavors, you can add cayenne pepper. While sticky rice is slightly more complicated than traditional rice, the variations are endless.