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I would like to try and recreate the sticky rice (aka glutinous rice or sweet rice) as I often find served in a kratip at my local USA Thai restaurant. I already have a rice cooker - the Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (on Amazon). I've cooked quite a few different long grain white rices and also brown rice, but have not yet tried sticky rice.

For standard long grain basmati rice I would just pop it into my cooker pot with the appropriate amount of water and press the white rice button. I have some concerns about the sticky rice as I have read that it requires a presoak upwards of 6 hours and I've also read that some rice cookers (Zojirushi) have a specific mode just for sticky rice. I've also read reviews on simple steamers for sticky rice, so that leads me to believe that I would actually have to use the steamer basket vs the regular rice cooker pot, but I'm just guessing.

Since my rice cooker does not have a specific mode for sticky rice, is it possible with my rice cooker, and if so how?

Some related resources that didn't quite answer this question:

  • Thai sticky rice is not simply cooked glutinous rice as many assume. The differing results come from the starches on the grains of rice being cooked entirely by steam instead of by immersion and then steam. – Mr. Mascaro Feb 20 '15 at 13:37
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This lady is pleased with the results just using her one-setting cooker: Sticky Rice. Note, she says in the comments that she uses 2 cups (or slightly less) water to 1 cup of rice (which makes sense) not 3 cups rice to 2 cups water like it sounds like she is saying in the video. She rinses the rice well, but does not soak it.

EDIT: With things like this there are often "camps" of differing opinion. I doubt that Michelin Starred restaurants that include sticky rice on their menu ever use rice makers to make said rice. I am reminded of this: Turning regular noodles into no-boil noodles. Even though there are thousands of recipes online for making lasagna without boiling the noodles, I say pfftthhfft. Sure, you can do it, if you don't mind High School cafeteria food. (Remember the Church Lady? "Isn't that special?" Think like that.)

I am less of a connoisseur of rice than of baked pasta. That being the case, I'm not sure that I would notice the deficiencies of sticky rice made in a rice cooker. With that in mind, and assuming that you are not on a different stratosphere of connoisseur than I am, I recommend that you give it a shot and let us know how it goes.

Yet Another EDIT - I Tried It

I used this brand of sweet (glutinous) rice:

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I used 2 cups of rice, thoroughly rinsed, 1 tsp salt, 3 2/3 cups water, and the only setting my simple, old rice cooker has.

My lid is glass, and I could see that there was still quite a bit of water on the top of the rice after the cycle was complete (short, 30 minutes or less), so I waited 15 minutes before I lifted the lid.

Since you can't see the rice without opening the cooker, I recommend that you do the same, wait 15 minutes before opening.

After 15 minutes I checked it out:

2 3

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It's absolutely fine. Is it as good as the the great Thai place down the street? No. But it's close. The only thing I would (and will) do differently next time is to only use 3 1/2 cups water to 2 cups rinsed rice and 1/2 TBS salt.

After it finished last night, I was suddenly too tired to mess with it anymore, so I just left the cooker on warm, and went to sleep. 5 hours later, if anything, it's improved.

It was fine without it, but I'm intrigued by @GdD's answer here. Later, I'm going to try making the rice again with the above measurements plus 1.5 TBS sugar, just to see (more just seems like too much). Making sticky rice without rice cooker

Final EDIT I Promise:

Yep, that worked. It does brown a bit at the bottom of the rice cooker, but I like that. I enjoyed that as much as sticky rice from the Thai joint. It's not the same, but it's really good. So, there is my recommendation. Have fun!

The lady who made the video has responded to me on YouTube. She seems grateful and flattered. She had no corrections.

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    Sure looks like it works to me. She does say it comes out "a little more on the softer, stickier side" but seems to think it's a matter of preference, not necessarily right or wrong. I'd certainly do it, especially since I don't have the right kind of steamer. – Cascabel Feb 20 '15 at 18:58
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    Thanks! I'm going to give it a shot and I will report back. I'm no rice snob, just trying to get some decent sticky rice at home without additional single purpose equipment. – dpollitt Feb 21 '15 at 19:49
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    Leaving it on the keep warm setting for a while could certainly provide some of the changes jbarker mentioned! – Cascabel Feb 22 '15 at 18:12
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    I'm happy to report back that for the past year I've been successfully cooking sticky rice in my basic rice cooker. I've played with less water, rinsing, cooking times, and sugar. The best results for me come with rinsing and using a bit less water. Thanks for the tips Jolenealaska! – dpollitt Aug 21 '16 at 11:59
  • @dpollitt Thank you. I love it when OPs return to the question to say that an answer worked for them. :) – Jolenealaska Aug 21 '16 at 22:38
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To answer your question: you can't... not really.

Thai sticky rice is cooked by steam and not by boiling and then steam like normal rice. Simply cooking a glutinous rice using the standard method is no more Thai sticky rice than a spud that I've crushed under my foot is a mashed potato.

The main difference is that glutinous rice has waxy starch and it will react very differently to different cooking methods than standard rice. Also, steaming allows dextrinization to occur throughout the cooking process instead of only at the end of cooking delivering a different flavor in the finished product.

The differences are not subtle if you use the traditional Thai method, however your mileage may vary.

  • The rice cooker that I have also offers a steam basket for steaming fish and vegetables. Would that work to properly steam Thai sticky rice? – dpollitt Feb 20 '15 at 13:59
  • If you could guarantee that you'll have no condensation dripping back onto the rice and you can provide the proper head space to get enough dry, radiant heat as well then sure. – Mr. Mascaro Feb 20 '15 at 14:02
  • Judging by the results in the video Jolenealaska linked to, you're exaggerating a lot here. It's clearly way less different than comparing crushed raw potato to mashed potatoes. Could you clarify what the differences actually are? How does it react differently to the different cooking methods? Is there a textural difference? How is the flavor different? (Dextrinization normally means browning, as far as I know, and I don't think Thai sticky rice is terribly brown...) – Cascabel Feb 20 '15 at 18:55
  • @Jefromi, you're right. That's why no one in Thailand does it the traditional way anymore... no, wait... they all do it the traditional way even though in most houses they have a rice cooker as well. And dextrinization occurs and has an effect on taste long before browning occurs to any noticeable extent, but in Thailand the sticky rice that I had was not perfectly white, either. – Mr. Mascaro Feb 20 '15 at 19:04
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    I'm sorry, I don't quite follow. I didn't say there was no difference, I said the comparison you made was clearly hyperbolic, and asked you to clarify the actual differences. If no one uses the rice cooker for this, why? Is it just the mild browning? (You could mention that in your answer - it's a lot more clear to the average reader than "dextrinization".) Is there a texture difference? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm asking you to explain more. – Cascabel Feb 20 '15 at 19:14
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you wash the rice until the water runs clear...that gets rid of any polish or patina or whatever the coating that develops is called so that the nice sticky starch of individual grains can join.

For a stick rice substitute I really just use jasmine rice with a little extra water...Not much, and not enough to make it soggy, just enough so that the rice isn't exactly "dry" when complete.

The rice cooker works by detecting that the rice is getting too hot, that's when it knows the water has run out and the rice is "done" if the right amount of water was used.

  • I'm not really sure that this answers my question. I don't want to substitute sticky rice for something else, I want to try to properly cool sticky rice with the equipment I have if possible. Also washing rice is quite a debatable topic that this site already has Q&A on, so I'd rather not get into that here. – dpollitt Feb 20 '15 at 19:23
  • Are you maybe saying that you should take glutinous rice, wash it, and then cook as normal? (That'd address the question.) Or are you saying that's how you make non-glutinous rice act alike glutinous rice? (That doesn't address the question.) – Cascabel Feb 21 '15 at 5:55
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Before asking this question you should have looked at how it is done your local USA Thai restaurant and how it i done in Thailand. Not only the rice but the method is different. It is steamed, not boiled. Of course you can rig different appliances to do this but the Thai apparatus, suitable for stove top use, is the most authentic; unless you duplicate the steaming you will not come close.

Jim

  • As I said in my question, my rice cooker also has a steam function. Will that achieve the desired effect? – dpollitt Feb 26 '15 at 11:57
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Please check out the Hot Thai Kitchen You Tube, Pai is showing how to cook Thai Sticky Rice in rice cooker and another method she called it "Steam the Bowl". Her method is that you don't need to soak the sticky rice. Please make sure you use the sticky rice from Thailand. Quick-Fix, No-Soak Sticky Rice หุงข้าวเหนียวแบบไม่แช่ข้าว- HTK Tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMDwyqJy2r4

This is for the sticky rice that you can use in the recipe for sticky rice and mango.

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