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Perfect Sticky Rice and a Shortcut Version without Fancy Equipment

I grew up eating sticky rice which is sometimes called glutinous rice or sweet rice. It has denser and stickier texture than the regular rice. Sticky is commonly grown and consumed in the Northeast region of Thailand and the neighbor countries. The sticky and firm grains of rice are suitable for eating by hands and easily formed into the bite size. The warm globs of sticky rice wonderfully scope up with spicy chutney or dunk into the rustic curry so nicely. Sticky rice is easily found in any part of Thailand. It is usually sold in the Northeast Style (Isaan) restaurants wrapped in small plastic bags or mini bamboo baskets ready to fly out of the stores any time.

When I moved to India, sticky was nowhere to be found. The only way I could get my hand on it was by my family shipping from Thailand. Even after having them in my Indian kitchen it was still difficult to prepare because cooking sticky rice required traditional steamer which is also only found in Thailand. I used to try cooking sticky rice in regular steamer and the result was really bad, the rice was undercooked and some part of it was extremely soggy and sticky.

The traditional cookware used for cooking sticky rice consists of 2 parts, the conical-shaped basket and the pot for boiling water which fix the basket properly. Whenever I went back to my hometown I always wanted to pack them along with me back to India, but there was no way I couldn’t fix them into my suitcases.

Cooking perfect sticky rice needs perfect equipments. The bamboo basket steamer is the idea tool for cooking sticky rice. Sticky rice has to be washed and soaked in the water for 3-4 hours before cooking. Back in Thailand, we usually soaked it over night, before going to sleep my mother used to make sure somebody put rice to soak, so it can be cooked as early as sunrise.

Cooking the Perfect Sticky Rice

Ingredient: (4 servings)

2 cup sticky rice- washed and soaked in the water for 4 hours

Equipment: Bamboo steamer and boiling vessel.


  1. To check if your soaked rice is ready for cooking, gently break one of the grain. If the grain is broken off easy then it’s ready to cook. If not, then soak further until the rice is soft.
  2. Fill 1/4th of the boiling vessel with water and bring to boil. When the water is furiously boil and the steam rise fiercely, steam rice in bamboo basket for 25-30 minutes with cover on.
  3. Flip and stir rice in bamboo basket with wooden spoon to allow the steam to run through all parts of the rice. Steam the rice further with lid on for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer cooked sticky rice to the large bamboo tray or clean wooden work space. Stir and flip the rice again to allow the steam to escape so that the rice will not become soggy. Serve hot or keep cooked rice in bamboo basket container or thermal- controlled container.

As you can see cooking sticky rice is not that difficult to handle but require suitable equipment and a little bit of patient. I do not have both, so I have been looking for a shortcut to cook sticky rice without any fancy equipment.

My sister told me about her friend’s mum who lived in Hong Kong cooking sticky rice with a simple rice cooker. I was a little bit skeptical at first but very intrigue by the idea. After the first experiment I was really satisfied with the result. The rice was softer but beautifully cooked. There is no need to presoak the rice, just a little water and a couple drops of vegetable oil can help me cook beautiful sticky rice for my spicy Thai meal.

Cooking Sticky Rice in Rice Cooker (without Bamboo Steamer)

Ingredient: (4 Servings)

2 cup sticky rice (do not soak)

Equipment required: rice cooker


  1. Wash sticky rice and add to the rice cooker with enough water to fill about a centimeter above the rice with water.
  2. Drop in a few drops of vegetable oil.
  3. Set the rice to cook automatically. The rice will cook really quickly, within 10-15 minutes.
  4. When the machine switches to ready, turn off the rice cooker and stir the rice with wooden spoon. Cover the rice cooker further for 5 minutes.
  5. Open the rice cooker and stir to release all steams out of the rice.
  6. The rice is ready to be served or it can be kept in bamboo basket or thermal-controlled container.

Cooking sticky rice in rice cooker is really quick and easy. Though the result is not as perfect as cooking sticky rice in the traditional way but it did a really wonderful job. The rice looked almost the same as the conventional method with a little bit exception that the rice was softer. This is how I cook sticky rice in India; it’s wonderful with any Thai dishes I served.

Have a wonderful day,

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