Recipe: Sticky, sticky rice (Khao Neow)

I used to think rice was a boring, safe choice, back before this Adventure. Then there was Persian Sour Cherry Rice. I died. Rice cooked in banana leaf tubes, called Longton. Lovely. Rainbow Rice. I smile on the inside and outside. Kushary – mixed with noodles, spaghetti and lentils. What? Coca Cola Rice. Who? Bottom line – rice is epic the world around. We’ve done a half ton of cool rice dishes on this Adventure. It goes on and on, and on, and on – no need to ever be bored with rice again.

Which brings us to today’s recipe from Laos – sticky, sticky rice, a.k.a. glutinous rice. Another win. Another smile for your face. Sticky rice is a staple in Laos. The good little grains pinch together into little balls, perfect for dipping into sauces like jeow. Another finger food for the win.

Traditionally one would use a special basket to steam the rice, but I found a bamboo steamer lined with cheesecloth works very well.

Makes 4 cups


2 cups glutinous rice (also known as sticky and sweet rice)


The method for sticky rice is almost the same no matter who you ask. Easy.

First, rinse the rice well, about 4 times. Then soak in cool water overnight. Make sure to cover the rice by a few inches of water.


You’ll find the rice has doubled in size.

Left: 2 cups dry glutinous rice. Right: glutinous rice expands after soaking overnight in cool water to nearly double the volume.

Bring water to boil in a wide pot or skillet (whatever you plan to use for the steamer).

Line bamboo steamer with thin cotton cloth or cheesecloth

Add the soaked, drained rice.

Steam vigorously for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender. Meanwhile, read a good book. Preferably one with happy pictures.

Girls reading in Laos. Photo by Blue Plover.

When the rice is done it will be tender and sticky, but not mushy.

Planting Rice in Laos. Photo by Ondřej Žváček.

Eat with your fingers, starting at the edge of the steamer and working your way around and towards the center. (The rice at the center is reserved for elders and honored guests).

 Enjoy with a smile.

A sticky, sticky smile.

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  1. I adore sticky rice, the perfect texture of soft and toothsome at the same time. Why is it there are so many simple recipes I never think of making at home? Thank you for reminding me how easy it can be. Well…how easy it sounds at least.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      If you have a steamer, it really is so simple. I love that there are no measurements of water or anything like that…

  2. Denise in Vancouver says:

    Fell across your site a few months ago…and have been following along each week. What a wonderful thing you are doing for your daughter, your husband and your community (including the internet community)!

    My version of sticky rice, easy peasy, and delicious!

    1. Soak a mixture of 2 c. sticky sweet rice with 1 c. regular rice in water, overnight. Drain.
    2. Place in rice cooker (with same amount of water you normally use to cook rice).
    3. Slice 3 chinese sausages (lup cheong) and place on top of the uncooked rice. Close cover & turn on.
    4. Fry 1 pound ground pork, add sliced chinese mushrooms, some oyster sauce and soya sauce.
    5. Add pork mixture to top of cooked rice, close cover and let sit for 10 min.
    6. Mix well. Add more oyster sauce & soya as desired.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thank you Denise! I’m so glad you found us and are travelling along :) Your recipe makes me wish I had a rice cooker, although I’m sure I could hobble along well enough on the stovetop. It sounds so hearty – perfect for this time of year.


  1. […] really wanted to get one of these when we cooked Laos and the sticky, sticky rice. I ran out of time, but at less than $15, I would love to try for our next […]

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