At the cooking class we took through Tamarind Restaurant in Luang Prabang in Laos, the first thing we learned how to make was sticky rice. Also known as “glutinous rice”, it is, in fact, gluten free. In Laos, sticky rice is used as a utensil for eating food. You take a small ball of the cooked rice and press it together a little so that it sticks to itself and will not leave grains behind when you dip it in a dish. Then you use your thumb to press the food against the rice and take a bite!
Here’s how we made it:
Wash the rice three to four times (under running water ideally) until the water runs clear.
Cover with water and allow it to soak – overnight is best, but three to four hours will work too (if you are short on time, add some salt to the water and use warm water, to help soften the grains).
Drain the rice and rince several times:
Steam for around 30 minutes. Remove from the water and turn the block of rice over. Replace the steamer over the water for about 20 minutes. Taste – it should be soft and sticky but not mushy.
Unused rice van be kept in a cool place overnight for a couple of days and reheated by steaming or in the microwave.
What to serve with your sticky rice? Well, everything, but perhaps the perfect accompaniment to the rice is the traditional Lao chili “dip”.
Guess what? We made those too! The following quantities are small, taster-sizes.
Jeow Mak Keua (Eggplant dip)
1 baby eggplant
3 small heads garlic
Neil made a version of this replacing the eggplant with some small tomatoes and adding MUCH more chili:
SO delicious and SO easy. Well, of course, it’s much easier to work when there is a lovely Lao man helping you NOT set fire to your veggies over the blazing flames and then taking them off the withered skewers so he burns his fingers and you don’t! It’s also nice to place your mortar and pestle on the ground when you are finished to have it replaced with a clean one…
To be continued…
All recipes courtesy of Tamarind Restaurant.