Monday, April 5, 2010

Purple Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk

Just about everyone I know that has tried sticky rice loves sticky rice. It was kind of weird how this one time I was at the laundromat with my mom and sisters, and out of the blue this Caucasian man came up and asked me if I knew how to make sticky rice. I don't remember my response. I think I was just surprised that he asked that. Actually, I thought he was kind of creepy looking and thought he was going to hit on me. lol :p  I was probably less than 15 back then. That just showed me how much people like this stuff.

When sticky rice is around and it's served next to regular white rice, the sticky rice is usually the first to go. I can usually eat it by itself as well, especially when it's just freshly cooked. Truth is I never made sticky rice until maybe a year or two ago. My mom or my grandma always made it for us growing up. Again, I didn't pay attention! When I finally wanted to learn, I had to call my mom and asked her how to make this. It was more simple than I thought. I think it's easier than making the regular rice (the old fashion way). I don't even remember how to do that either. :P I just remember there were a lot of steps. I think there are rice cookers now that can cook sticky rice, but I don't own one that does that. With the advice from a friend, I tried cooking sticky rice in my regular rice cooker, but it did not turn out! Anyway, I like to mix mine with coconut milk. It gives it a somewhat sweet and creamy taste. I also like my sticky rice mixed with the purple (or actually black) rice. I like the texture that it gives and purple is just an interesting and fun color for rice (I think so anyway).  You can certainly leave out the coconut milk for a more natural flavor; it'll still taste good regardless, but do try it with the black rice. 

3 cups of sweet rice
1/3 cup of black rice
14 oz can of coconut milk

1. Pour the sweet and black rice into a large bowl.

2. Rinse the rice a few times until water is somewhat clear. I also do a wash by grabbing two handfuls of rice and rubbing it back and forth with my hands (I didn't have an extra pair of hands to take a picture of this). I don't know the official reason behind rinsing, but I think it gets rid of the extra starch, dust, excess powder, etc. This is what we've always done when cooking rice (so I just do it), although I don't do it anymore with regular rice in the cooker.

3. After rinsing, pour enough water to cover the rice (about 2-3 inches above).

4. Shake the can of coconut milk well. If it's still too thick, then mix it well with a spoon. Pour the entire can of coconut milk into the bowl of rice.

Stir well.

5. Let the rice soak for several hours or overnight at room temperature. You may cover the bowl with saran wrap to protect it from the elements. Soaking the rice is an important step because if it is not soaked long enough, the rice will not turn out. I don't know the exact minimum, but I do know that I tried it once without soaking it too long (2-4 hours I believe) and it still didn't turn out.
6. Once properly soaked and ready to cook, drain the rice. The rice would have soaked some of the water and will look similar to this:

7. Prepare the steamer by adding water to the pot (about half way filled). Set the temperature on high heat. Pour the rice into the steamer section and place this on top of the pot. Cover the steamer. Continue to cook on high heat for about 40 minutes. Rice is ready when it is tender (but not soggy).

This is the steamer I used and it worked fine. You might see ones specially made for sticky rice that comes with a bamboo steamer. I got this one as a wedding gift ages ago and I've put it to many uses already.

8. When rice is ready, stir the rice with a large spoon to loosen it up a little. Be careful, it will be hot! Serve rice immediately or pour into an insulated container or even a rice cooker to keep warm. Oh, and make sure to clean the steamer right away so the rice doesn't harden and stick to the steamer. ;)

And, please, say NO to this:

When I see this at the food markets, I would never buy this stuff.  I think that the point of the black/purple rice is not only the unique color that it gives, but the texture and taste as well.  You might as well just drink the dye instead of eating the rice. 


  1. Thanks for posting this recipe! Growing up I remember making sticky rice at parties but my memory is blurry. I have that exact steamer and it's a treasured tool. Do you have a recipe for beer rice? I call it beer rice because it smells sweet.

  2. Hey! My gf is Hmong and doesn't know how to cook, we'll definitely try this recipe out as we love purple sticky rice. Also, I noticed in your post, that you wanted to know why people wash rice. Washing rice removes the excess starch which helps the rice to cook more evenly and makes it less sticky. In some cases I don't wash rice to make it more sticky (like when making sushi), and other times I'll wash it to cook better. And yes, I'm white, and I love purple sticky rice haha. Thanks for this blog! :)

    1. Washing the rice also makes the rice taste much more fragrant. It tastes heavy and bland when it's unwashed.