Mistakes Everyone Makes With Sticky Rice

Cooking rice properly is a skill, as anyone who might have tried to cook rice in the past — and has failed — will tell you. And as with all deceptively simple dishes, mistakes can be made every of the way, from the time you purchase the ingredient to bring home straight up to the time it is served as part of a dish.

The first mistake we make when it comes to sticky rice in particular is not understanding what it is. Glutinous rice is not like many rice varieties we cook up by throwing the grains into a pot or a rice cooker, because it has a pretty concentrated amount of the starch amylopectin, and just one percent of amylose, which means it becomes very gluey and sticky after it's been cooked. While sticky rice is used for both sweet and savory dishes in Asia, you'd probably know it best as part of the Thai mango and sticky rice dessert combo (via The Spruce Eats).

Mistakes can easily be made when cooking sticky rice for the first time

Cooking sticky rice can be tricky if you've never done it before, and this is where all the mistakes are most likely to be made. As far as households across Asia are concerned, sticky rice should be soaked before it is cooked. Cooking With Lane recommends that grains be soaked overnight, a move which The Spruce Eats says can be cut down to 30 minutes if you're in a hurry. Soaking is meant to make the grain's inflexible outer shell a bit more pliable, and which will help to cook the grain thoroughly. Skipping this step could leave you with sticky rice that won't live up to its name.

In parts of Asia, sticky rice is normally cooked by being steamed in a purpose-built bamboo steamer, and Cooking with Lane warns against MacGyver-ing it by suspending a plastic coriander over steaming water. You'll want to use the proper steamer where the water won't touch the rice and the entire contraption has a lid that prevents any steam from escaping. After steaming the rice for 15 minutes, flip the solid mass of rice over and continue for a further ten to 15 minutes. The site says you'll know when the rice is ready because it will be soft and springs back to the touch. Knead the rice to keep it from clumping and serve.

It would be a mistake to think sticky rice can't be made in a rice cooker

Here's the clincher. While a number of people might be aghast over the idea of preparing sticky rice in a rice cooker, it would be a mistake to assume that that's the only way to cook it. The Spruce Eats ventures to say sticky rice can also be prepared in a rice cooker. Soak the rice for between 40 minutes and four hours, and pop the rice cooker on to start the process, cook, and serve. The site also says that sticky rice just gets stickier as it cools, so make sure you make it ahead of time if you want to replicate the feel of sticky rice as it is served at your favorite Thai or Lao restaurant.