How to Cook Thai Sticky Rice

Our Thai sticky rice, locally known as Khao Niao, is a high quality long-grain sticky rice. We grow our sticky rice without using chemicals in this field, in the Chiang Mai valley of northern Thailand. Khao Niao is daily staple food in northern and northeastern Thailand, as well as Laos and Cambodia.


Sticky rice grains can be short and oval, or longish and oblong according to the plant variety of sticky rice. In Japan short-grain is popular, in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia the long-grain sticky rice is the much preferred. So, Sansaket Farm's Thai sticky rice is long-grain. Worldwide, this long-grain sticky rice is somewhat rare.


Sansaket Farm rice is milled with a non-industrial milling machine.  Industrial milling machines are designed to make the rice appear "perfect". Everything that is not perfect is discarded, regardless of nutritional value. This includes smaller rice particles including (nutritious) rice germs. Plus, the industrial mill is not designed to return rice to the farmer, it refuses to return your own rice, because it can't separate it. But resistance is not futile - we use the very effective rice milling service of a small mill at the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Center. It mills and returns our own rice just as we want it - including some non-perfect looking, but nutritious rice particles like the nutritious rice germs.

White sticky rice and brown sticky rice differ in the way they are milled:

White sticky rice is dehusked and polished rice, leaving white rice grains with excellent aroma and taste. As a polished rice it has a very long raw shelf life. White rice was virtually unknown until the rice milling machine was invented in 1861.

Brown sticky rice is dehusked rice with a largely intact bran layer, leaving light brown rice grains with excellent aroma and taste, keeping its natural dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals, and a crunchier texture. It is also referred to as whole grain rice, specificially whole grain sticky rice. Due to the retained bran layer, raw brown sticky rice has a shorter shelf life than raw white sticky rice.


Cooking white sticky rice

The traditional way to bring out Thai white sticky rice's aroma and taste is to steam it in a bamboo steaming basket. Of course, if you cannot steam the rice, it can also be prepared in a rice cooker or cooking pot (see further below)

  1. Rinse-wash the raw sticky rice with cold water, pick out any unwanted particles from the water, repeat until the water is clear.
  2. Soak the rice in ample water until it has absorbed sufficient water for steaming: An overnight or daytime soak is usual, it should not be less than 4 hours. After soaking, discard the soaking water, rinse the rice once.
  3. Put sufficient water into a cooking pot, so that the pot will not steam dry later. Turn the heat on.
  4. Prepare your bamboo steaming basket by making it wet inside, to help avoid rice sticking to it.
  5. Put the wet rice into the bottom of the steaming basket, ensure no rice grains remain on the basket's upper sides. Put a lid on the rice in the basket. Put the steaming basket onto the cooking pot, minimize steam escaping from the sides (saving energy).
  6. Steam the rice for about 30 minutes. Periodically check that the water is sufficient, and keep the lid on the rice. The steam is piping hot, be careful.

One major advantage of steaming the rice is that there is no rice/water ratio to think about! Just make sure there's sufficient (or a lot of) water, let it steam 30 minutes, and the rice will be "right".

Some alternative methods for steaming are described on the net, using a splatter guard or screen, tinfoil (aluminum foil), or a strainer.

Cooking brown sticky rice

To prepare brown sticky rice simply follow any one of the Jasmine rice cooking methods using a rice cooker or cooking pot

Rinse-wash the raw sticky rice with cold water, remove any unwanted particles, repeat until the water is clear.  Do not soak the brown sticky rice.

» Use an Automatic Rice Cooker

Add 1 part rinse-washed, wet rice to an automatic rice cooker, together with 1½ parts water, for germinated rice 1 part water. Turn the rice cooker on. When the rice is done, the automatic rice cooker switches from cooking to warming the rice.

» Use a Standard Cooking Pot

Add 1 part rinse-washed, wet rice to a standard cooking pot, together with 1½ parts water, for germinated rice 1 part water. Let the white or brown rice come to a very brief boil, then simmer at low heat with a closed lid. Do not stir the rice, avoid opening the lid during the simmer. The rice is done when the water begins to get used up. This is around 45 minutes. The art of making rice in a cooking pot lies in choosing the right moment to take the cooking pot off the stove. That moment depends on the amount of water, the actual heat of the simmer and the characteristics of the cooking pot. You may need to experiment, then stick with what works well.


Salt, broth or other aroma can be added to the water. White and brown sticky rice can be mixed for soaking, cooking, consuming. Sticky rice can be reheated by steaming.

Cooking Cycle

At Sansaket Farm we have sticky rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

White sticky rice is soaked at night and in the morning. It is steamed in the morning, then stored in a closed, round, sticky rice bamboo basket, and consumed throughout the day. We do not refrigerate it. For lunch, the white sticky rice is still supple, it is not reheated.

For dinner new sticky rice is made. Any left over sticky rice is added to the steaming process about halfway through, and is subsequently consumed first.

It's important to note two points. 1) This cycle goes for white sticky rice only, not for brown sticky rice and Jasmine rice. 2) The traditional method of keeping steamed white sticky rice at room temperature for a good part of the day does not match official advice to store cooked rice in the refrigerator within 2 hours.