We really eat lots of rice around my house and I have a gadget for cooking it that many of you may not have seen or used.

Here it is:


To use the above:

Rinse rice 2-3 times, until water runs clear. Place rinsed rice in a bowl and fill with cool water so the water is approximately 2-3 inches above the rice (see Step 1). Let the rice stand in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the rice, place it in a cheesecloth, wrap it up and put the cheesecloth inside bamboo steamer. Put 6-8 cups of water in sticky rice steamer and bring to a boil. Then place bamboo steamer inside sticky rice steamer (see step 2). Be sure the bottom of the bamboo steamer does not touch the boiling water. Place a standard 8 inch lid loosely over the top of the bamboo steamer (see Step 3). Steam the rice for 45 minutes (or until tender). Enjoy!

Recipes that sticky rice cooked in the above:

Basic Sticky Rice
1 lb sticky rice
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup coconut milk

Prepare the sticky rice as above.  Dissolve salt and sugar in the coconut milk, and heat stirring to prevent lumps. When coconut milk boils, remove from heat and set 3/4 cup aside to be used when serving. Place cooked sticky rice in a container with tightly fitting lid, and pour in remaining coconut milk. Stir vigorously, and cover, and set aside for awhile to allow coconut milk to mingle with the rice thoroughly. When serving, spoon some of the coconut milk set aside earlier over the rice before adding toppings (see below). Note: be sure to mix warm coconut milk with sticky rice immediately after the sticky rice is finished cooking.

Shrimp Topping

1 cup finely chopped shrimp
1 cup grated coconut
1 tsp finely chopped coriander root
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cooking oil
2-3 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh kaffir lime leaves

Chop shrimp and coconut together and add a little yellow food coloring. Pound pepper and coriander root in a mortar and pestle until ground and mixed thoroughly, and fry in the oil until fragrant, then add shrimp and coconut and fry until done, seasoning to taste with salt and sugar. Remove from pan and sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Custard Topping

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 lb palm sugar
4 eggs

Mix coconut milk, palm sugar and eggs, beat and steam in double boiler over vigorously boiling water for 25-30 minutes.

Candied Coconut Topping

2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups palm sugar
1 1/2 cups water scented with jasmine essence

Mix palm sugar with the water, heat until dissolved, add coconut and cook over low heat to a thick, syrupy consistency. Cool, then place in a lidded container scented with a fragrant candle.


Little more about sticky rice:

Sticky rice, also called sweet rice, is a Thai dish and our favorite kind of rice.  In many Thai restaurants it is served cold with a coconut cream sauce and sliced mango for dessert.  Sticky rice comes in both white and black, and the black rice cooks up to be a deep blackish-maroon that is very pretty.

Sticky rice is also eaten in place of regular Thai jasmine rice and we very much prefer sticky rice!  It is easy to cook, if you have the right tools - an aluminum pot and rice basket as seen below.  We have never successfully made it in a Japanese style electric rice cooker!

Start the rice at least 8 hours before the meal.  Allow about 1 cup of rice per person.  Wash the rice very well in cold water until the water runs clear.  Let the rice soak covered in cold water until you are ready to use.  (If you are in a big hurry and forgot to soak the rice, we have used very hot water in place of the cold and soaked the rice for 3 hours in several changes of hot water and it works fairly well.)

Bring water in the aluminum pot to a boil.  Dump rice into steaming basket and let drain.  Put steaming basket over the pot of water and cover loosely with a dish towel.  Let steam for half an hour for 2 cups of rice and another 5 minutes for each additional cup - it isn't that fussy.  The steamer won't hold more than 6 cups, we think. 

To serve, take the basket off the pot and remove the dish towel.  Put a bowl over the basket, flip the basket and the rice will drop into the bowl as a kind of molded together unit.  Serve in hunks with dishes that have a lot of sauce.  Wash or soak the basket immediately! 

If you need to hold the rice once it is cooked, turn the heat down to low and the rice will stay warm - but you should serve it within 15 minutes or so.  The rice really stiffens up when refrigerated but will soften again when reheated (though we rarely have leftovers & if we do they usually go to the chickens who are crazy about the stuff.)

Fried Sticky Rice


7 oz cooked Thai sticky rice
1 tablespoon roasted white sesame, slightly crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz minced pork
fresh vegetables: lettuce, green onions, coriander

Combine the pork, ground pepper, salt, sticky rice and white sesame in a bowl, then mix together until smooth. Form the mixture into bite-sized balls and dip in beaten egg. Deep fry the balls in hot oil over a moderate heat until lightly brown. Remove from the oil with a skimmer and drain well on kitchen papers.

Mix together in a small bowl
prik pao (Thai Chili Paste) with a bit of lemon juice to taste, and add a slight amount of sugar to suit your preference

Transfer the fried sticky rice to a serving plate, garnishing with pineapple and red chilis. Serve with sauce and fresh vegetables.

Note: this dish goes well with fried dried salted beef. It can be made as follows: cut the beef into 1/2" thick slices, mix with salt and marinate for one hour. Allow to dry on a sieve about 2-3 hours, then fry the beef in hot oil until cooked.


There are many varieties of rice and just as many ways to prepare it. I know you have all tried lots of them. All I can do here is tell you what I have found to be tried and true for me.

In my home, we eat lots of brown rice, but that is not to say we don't enjoy various kinds of white rice as well.


General Instructions for Cooking Rice:

White or brown rice
1cup of regular white or brown rice needs 2 cups of water for cooking
Put rice and water into saucepan. Heat until it starts to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer. Stir.
Cover pan and simmer (do not stir) for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender. All water will be absorbed by the rice.

Makes 3 cups of rice

Note: Brown rice will need 45-50 minutes to cook until tender.

You can make a fluffier rice by cooking it as you do pasta. Add 1 cup regular rice to 3 quarts boiling water; stir once. Return water to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 12 minutes or until tender; drain. If using brown rice, follow the same instructions but simmer 35 minutes.

When cooking rice, adding salt to the water is not necessary. You can add a taplespoon of dried herbs to the water for a new flavor.

You can reheat rice by putting in a saucepan and adding 2 tablespoons of water for each cup of cooked rice. Cover and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until hot. You can also reheat rice by microwaving: cover the rice and heat on HIGH for 2-3 minutes.

If rice is too firm you may not have cooked it enough, you may not have added enough water, or the saucepan cover was loose causing water to evaporate.

If rice is too mushy you may have cooked the rice too long or added too much water to the rice.

If rice is sticky you may have held the rice too long before serving or you stirred the rice during cooking.


Wild rice

1 cup of regular wild rice needs 3 cups of water for cooking

  1. Bring water to a rapid boil. Add rice to the water.
  2. Return water to boil, stir. Reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Cover pan and simmer 30-45 minutes or until kernels puff open.
  4. Uncover, fluff with a fork. Simmer 5 additional minutes.
  5. Drain liquid from the rice.

Makes about 4 cups of rice

Microwaving Rice

  • Use a medium microwavable baking dish
  • Salt and margarine or butter are optional
  • Cover during cooking and standing time
  • Stir once

Rice/Amount Add Water Cooking Time

1 cup regular long-grain or medium short-grain rice 1 3/4 to 2 cups HIGH - 5 minutes
MEDIUM - 15 minutes
STAND - 5 minutes
1 cup brown rice 2 to 2 1/2 cups HIGH - 5 minutes
MEDIUM LOW - 15 minutes
STAND - 5 minutes
1 cup wild rice 3 cups HIGH - 5 minutes
MEDIUM - 40 minutes
STAND - 15 minutes



American Long Grain Rice

The grains of long grain rice are more than three times as longas they are wide. In general, tehy are less starchy (therefore less sticky) than the grains of shor and mediuk grain rices. The terms long grained and Carolina are used interchangebly; these days, Carolina usually apple to any good long grain rice grouwn in the United STates.  I prefer long grain to converted rice. (Converted is actually a trademark of Uncle Ben's)

Converted rice is just not as fluffy, it is too firm and doesn't absorb a sauce the way regular long grain rice does.

Arborio Rice:

This rice is perfect for making risotto. Turning creamy as it slowly abosrbs stock, it still keeps its shape and firm texture while taking on the flavors of any ingredients cooked with it.


I love Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice is graded according to its percentage of unbroken, long, pointed grains, translucent milk-white color, delicate perfume; and buttery, nutlike flavor. Basmatin rice needs to be handled properly to ensure that it will be fluffy and tender. You must go through the ritual of cleaning, washing and soaking before you use the 'real' basmati rice.

There is a brown Basmati rice, delicious and has a coarser grain. It has the expected brown rice flavor and nutrition, and takes approximately 45 minutes to cook.

 It is best to soak the washed rice such as Basmati and Brown Basmati, drain the rice in warm water for at least  10 minutes to allow the rice to 'rest'. This allows the long pointed grains to absorb water and relax before cooking. You will then drain off the warm water after the rice has been soaked. You are also preserving the nutrients by this process.  Now just drain the rice in a strainer, but collect the water you drain and use this water for your cooking of the rice. Another important step you do no want to forget. Before you cook the rice, you want to let it 'air dry' for at least 15-20 minutes.


Japanese Rice (Sushi Rice)

When cooked, this medium grain rice is slightly moist and sticky but with separate, firm grains. This rice is great served as a background for fish and all seafood. Keep in mind that in Japan the term sushi rice means cooked rice that has been seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt, ready for use in a sushi dish....in the United States it applies to the raw rice, which is usually labeled as such.

Jasmine Rice

Often labeled 'scented' or 'fragrant' rice, it is a long grain white rice from Thailand. When cooked, the grains are soft, moist and wonderfully aromatic, with a nutty flavor similar to Indian Basmati.


Sticky Rice

Sticky rice is famous for its texture (it sticks to itself, not to your fingers). Cooked sticky rice is clingy, chewy and if forms clumps that can easily be picked up with your fingers. If cooked like regular rice, it will become mushy because it has so much starch. It needs to be soaked so that it can absorb some water and then drained and steamed until it is dry.

Wild Rice

There is just no substitute for wild rice. It has a great texture, earthy flavor, and wonderful long grains. It is higher in protein than common rice and rich in lysine, an amino acid lacking in most grains. Really, wild rice isn't rice, it is the seed of a grass that grows in marshes and small lakes from Minnesota to Ontario. When you are buying packages of wild rice, do your best to avoid packages that contain lots of broken pieces.

Cooking Rice

Rice is not hard to cook and there are many ways of cooking it. Modern times has given us these great little rice cookers and I have one it does the job. But I am still that old fashioned gal and I enjoy my better cooked the old fashioned way.

Here are some ways of cooking your rice.

Some cooks prefer cooking rice like paste, boiling it in large quantities of salted water until it is just over half done. If is then drained and cooked until tender in the oven. Rice can also be partially steamed on top fo the stove and then finished off in teh oven, using the examt amount of water neede for absorption.

Cooking rice depends on the strain of rice you have, the type of pan you are using and your heat source. In most cases 1 2/3 cup to 1 3/4 cup of water to 1 cup of rice, no matter what type it is will do the trick.

Basmati rice requires slightly less water than Carolina, patna or Texmati.

There are three types of pots excellent for cooking rice:

1. Silverstone on heavy aluminum

2. Cuisinart or Revere Ware stainless steel

3. Le Creuset enameled cast-iron pots



7 Basic Rules for Cooking Good Rice


1. Always use long grain rice

2. A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice or a dab of butter or oil added during cooking helps the grains to remain separate and light

3. Generally 1 cup of uncooked rice yields 2 3/4 to 3 cups of cooked rice.

****Keep in mind, brown rice absorbs more water than white rice when cooking.

4. Thick walls on your pot will help distribute the heat evenly throughout the rice, bringing all the grains to the same degree of tenderness.

If your rice is cooking unevenly, perhaps the top layer is not cooked enough while the rest of the rice is tender, it is likely that your lid does not fit tightly enough. Try covering the pot with a tight sheet of aluminum foil, then replace the lid.  Good quality nonstick cookware is excellent for preventing rice from burning or scroching once the liquid is absorbed.  A golden crust will form, but the rice will not burn if kept over low heat.

5. Once the lid has been placed on the rice, the heat must remain very low, just high enough to maintian a very gentle simmer.  If you cannot achieve a suffieciently low setting from your burner, try cooking the rice in a well-covered, ovenproof dish in a preheated 325F oven for 25 minutes. 

6. Never stir or otherwise distrub the rice while it is covered and steaming.  Keep the rice well covered with a tight-fitting lid and let it cook undisturbed until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. Removing the lid will allow precious steam to escape and make the rice cook unevenly.

7. Rice is at its best when prepared just before serving.  Try to time your rice so that it has cooked and rested before fluffing.  A rice pilaf or simple rice dish will remain piping hot for up to 20 minutes, provided you've used a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.  If there is an unavoidable delay and the rice must sit before serving, transfer the entire dish into a wire-mesh strainer and set it over barely simmering water.  Place a folded kitchen towel over the saucepan and replace the lid.  This can save your from disaster for up to one hour.



On to Rice Recipes...