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  • Writer's pictureOdara

Khao nieo - Glutinous rice

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Sticky or glutinous rice Oryza sativa L. var. glutinosa is the most eaten rice in Laos. It differs from conventional rice in taste, appearance and texture. Raw, it is opaque and becomes translucent after cooking, unlike jasmin rice which is translucent raw but turns opaque when cooked. Sticky rice is eaten with the hands and is dipped in sauces in the same way a Westerner would do with bread.

The rice is soaked in cold water for a minimum of 2 hours and then steamed. It is served in a specific basket. Your rice is perfectly cooked if the grains stick to each other but not to your hands. The amount of rice usually prepared is 100g to 200g of raw rice per person per meal.

“The rice soaking water, rich in starch, is used for the preparation of fermented dishes.”


In Laos, glutinous rice is cooked with a conical basket and a dedicated pot shaped for the basket. A classic steamer is also very suitable, however.

Soak the rice in cold water for a minimum of 2 hours. Drain.

Steam the rice with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip the rice with a spatula and steam for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the rice to a platter and stir for 2 minutes or until most of the steam has escaped. This operation which consists in aerating the rice will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.

Serve the rice in a sticky rice basket.

“If you use a conical basket. The rice can be flipped in one motion. Remove the lid, release the basket from the pan and lift the basket with a sharp blow.”

If you use a classic steamer. It is possible to use a piece of muslin to turn the rice over in a single movement. This also prevents the rice from sticking to the pan.

Place the rice on one third of the muslin. The rice is turned over by pulling on the shorter end.

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