Background information Sticky rice is, in many parts of Asia, the rice of the “common people”. In many Asian societies, sticky rice is considered somewhat “lower class”, but this comes not from the quality of the rice, but from the fact that it is usually eaten with bare hands. In Thailand, where I live, sticky rice is very common in the North (Nua), and in the Northeastern (Issan) part of Thailand. It is usually eaten with a series of smaller dishes consisting of sauces, curries, cooked vegetables. The typical way of eating sticky rice is to take a small lump and make it into a ball, using the fingers on your right hand. Using the left hand is considered very impolite in some cultures here because the left-hand is used in the bathroom for cleaning oneself (I know this sounds icky, but I want you to understand the cultures here). The ball of rice is then dipped into your choice of sauce, curry, etc., then eaten.
Preparation First, you need to get the correct type of rice. You need to purchase “glutenous rice”. Regular Jasmine rice or other types of regular rice will not work properly. Soak the glutinous rice in water for about 4 hours. Set up a steamer, wrap the rice in muslin, and steam for 15 minutes. Turn the muslin-wrapped rice over, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook the rice, or it will become quite mushy. The consistency you’re looking for is slightly sticky, but not watery. The rice should hold together, but individual grains can still be easily seperated.
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