Sticky rice is a special ingredient used in Asian countries, especially Japan and Thailand. It is rice that sticks to itself very well and is used in a few dishes like sweet rice balls, Rice cake soup, lotus leaf wraps, onigiri, and more. There is a specific starch that gives sticky rice its sticky powers. Although not every rice naturally has enough of this starch to stick, regular rice, especially long-grain rice, typically does not work as sticky rice because of this. The best kinds of rice to use for maximum stickiness are Japanese and Thai kinds of rice. You can find these kinds of rice at your local ethnic market or in the ethnic section of your local grocery store most likely. You can also buy them online. The sticky rice will usually be labeled as sticky or sushi rice. You might also find labels like glutinous rice, or sweet Thai rice.
But what if you can’t have any of these special sticky rice and all you have is regular rice? While you might not have special sticky rice on hand, there are some methods, tips, and techniques that you can use to turn regular rice into sticky rice. The only rice that will not work no matter what you do to it is long grain rice. It just doesn’t have any of the special sticky starch within it. Before we get into the methods, we will list a couple of different alternatives that will work as sticky rice in a pinch. These alternatives can also be made stickers if needed by using these methods.
- Short grain rice
- Brown rice
- Cauliflower sushi rice
- Soba noodles
So let’s say all you have is white medium grain rice. The very first thing you want to do is actually something that many people do not understand. You DON’T wash the rice. All rice naturally has a starch that helps aid in the stickiness we are looking for. Many people have issues with not washing their food, and that is understandable. So if you absolutely must wash your rice before cooking it then do so as little as possible so that we can keep the maximum amount of that sticky helping rice starch. If you are choosing to wash the rice lightly then you may want to save the water you used to wash the rice for the next tip on turning regular rice into sticky rice.
The next thing you want to do is draw out the starches we’ve mentioned earlier. In order to draw out those sticky helping starches, you will want to soak the rice in water. The longer ahead of using the rice you can soak it the better. Some people find it best to soak the rice in a safe container overnight the day before creating the final dish. Generally speaking, soaking it overnight will draw out most of the sticky starch like we want, but also if you can only soak the regular rice for 30 minutes that will also help. Doing this really preps the inner starches to be fully extracted, but they are not out yet.
In order to get out all the remaining sticky starches left in the regular rice, the last step in this method will be boiling the rice. A pot works fine as that’s what most people own, but the container doesn’t matter very much if you have a wok or a large saucepan; they all work well as long as you can fit the rice and water in it. You will want to have two parts water to one part rice. Turn on the stove to bring the water to a full boil. Once you reach a full boil then you can reduce the heat.
You can now drain the water, be careful as it still may be hot. Give the rice about 3 minutes to steam the excess water out. Then test the stickiness by taking a small amount, a little more than a pinch, and roll it into a ball in your hands. If you did everything correctly, the once regular rice should be able to clump together and hold a shape.
Congratulations, you made sticky rice out of regular rice! This of course is not the only way to achieve this and it may be the case that a different method would work better for you. This was the first method told because you can use this method together with the others to get extra stickiness which some kinds of rice without the natural sticky starch may need. If this method works fine then you can feel free to simply use this method alone or together with the other methods for a stronger stickier bond.
If for some reason you decided to just jump to this method please consider using both this method and method one together for better results. This second method takes the ingredients that you were already going to use in your rice, and turns them into bonding agents that help your rice become even stickier! If this sounds too good to be true, suspend your disbelief and try it out, you may be surprised how well this works.
This is a general tip that will only work after considering the ultimate ingredients you are going to use in your dish. For example, if you were planning on using rice vinegar and rice flour those would be a good combination for this method. You will have a better idea of what will be good or bad for this method once you have tried it.
If you are using liquids in your rice dish, especially sweet ones, then you will want to pour that into a saucepan and slowly raise the heat to a very low temperature. You can add powders and starches like cornstarch or rice flour, or even spices. The idea here is to make a bit of a spice, vinegar, whatever-have-you kind of paste that will be mixed with the rice to add stickiness to it. You may already have an idea of what would be a good ingredient to add that would be good for the overall dish as well as the stickiness element. So add all of your ingredients into the saucepan, with liquids going first. If you are not planning on having any liquids added to your final rice plate then this method will not work for you.
If you are not sure what liquid to add, the general rule is you want something thick and or sweet. For example coconut milk and sugar. Or almond milk. You do not want to bring all these ingredients to a boil in the saucepan, the idea is for all the ingredients to be only a little warm enough that the powders and spices dissolve into the liquid, hopefully adding as much sticky power as possible. So to do that you will want to mix the ingredients into the liquid once it is warm. When that is done you can pour it onto your rice and mix the rice. The downside to this is that it may make the rice harder to work with depending on the ingredients you have used. If you are looking to simply shape rice with no additives you may want to consider using only method one because this method has the chance to make the resulting rice too sticky to your hands and anything else, so consider this method carefully for the creation you are trying to make.
So once you have heated and mixed all the ingredients into a thick liquid, and poured it on top of the rice, you should be done and now have sticky rice! Congratulations!
In most cases you will be very well set with only these first two methods however in some cases the third and final method listed will be the best suited to you, so if you have not found your very own specific solution yet, don’t despair, because the final method we will go over next is sure to be tasty and sweet.
This final method of making sticky rice out of regular rice is a method that uses coconut milk and sugar. Technically this method of making sticky rice is also a whole dish on its own to be served with mangoes and a milky cream, but it also results in having sticky rice that can be used in other recipes so long as you take into consideration the rice will be a very sweet dessert flavor. If you are interested in the sticky mango rice dish alone, then you should know its good cold or room temperature. Either way, let’s get into how to make this sweet sticky mango rice.
The first thing to do is get a large stove safe pot. Put 2 cups of water in it, put it on the stove and bring it to a boil.
If you are using short grain rice, use a cup and a half. For medium grain rice, 1 cup will work just fine. Again the shorter the better as it tends to have more sticky resulting starches. Add your rice into the large pot with boiling water. Put a lid on the pot to cover it. Let the rice simmer for 15 to 20 minutes on a heat just in between low and medium. Return to check on the water boiling and mix it every few minutes so that the water does not boil over and the rice starches and juices get mixed evenly.
All that should be relatively regular to a frequenter of cooking rice. But here with these next steps is where the sticking es really comes from, as well as the exquisite sweet flavor of this sticky mango rice.
Now is the time to mix in a separate pot: 1 and a half cups of coconut milk. Mix it around evenly. And now add 1 cup of sugar, putting in only a little bit at a time and mixing it in to make sure it is absorbed properly and fully. And then you will want to add a half teaspoon of salt. It is commonly known that a small amount of salt will actually help to highlight the sweetness of a dish. Make sure all of these ingredients are well mixed evenly in order to have a consistent flavor in every bite. If you would like to save time then you can even make this mixture while the rice is reaching its boiling point. And speaking of boiling in this pot that has the coconut milk mixture, you want to put it on medium heat and bring it to a boil as well. You will need to mix it from time to time because the ingredients can settle and burn at the bottom of the pot if left on the heat alone for too long.
Once the rice is done cooking you will want to remove the lid of the rice and add the coconut milk mixture into the rice. Stir it well, put the lid back onto the pot, and set it aside in a room temperature place where it won’t be disturbed. This gives the rice a good long time to absorb the flavors and sugars from the coconut rice milk mixture.
Congratulations, you’ve just made sticky rice! This is the portion needed to make the sticky rice. If you are interested in making the rest of the sticky rice mango dish a simple google search can help you find out about the cream and mango preparation needed to make it.
So now you know three different methods to turning regular rice into sticky rice to be used however you like! So the next time you only have jasmine or medium grain rice around the house, you won’t have to go all the way to the store to get something more specific. You can now use the methods you have learned to turn regular rice into sticky rice! Enjoy.