Laos is the only country where glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, is the main rice. Laotians have sticky rice with almost every daily meal and Chef Seng shares a memory of her childhood with sticky rice:
My parents, instead of feeding us with milk sometimes, they fed us with sticky rice milk. Each of our three daily meals had Sticky rice. We ate breakfast while walking to school, Grandma would boil one egg, and split in four pieces a piece for me and my brothers, we would open one hand, put sticky rice on it and shape like a bowl, then place the piece of egg on top. Walking, sometimes running, happily we would enjoy breakfast on the way to school, we didn’t always used our hands, sometimes grandma served on banana or taro root leaves.
Sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, pearl rice, and pulut is a type of Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous in the sense of being gluelike or sticky and not in the sense of containing gluten. (1)
We serve two types of sticky rice at the restaurant; the white sticky rice that goes as a side in most of our dishes, larbs, grilled meats, orms, etc., and the black sticky rice is one of most popular desserts served with slices of mango and coconut milk.
Fun facts about Sticky Rice:
– It accounts for 80-90% of the rice consumed in Laos. (2)
– Glutinous (sticky) rice does not contain dietary gluten. (1)
– It’s eaten with the fingers, form a ball with your hands and press it on your palm then scoop the accompanying food.
– According to legend, sticky rice was used to make the mortar in the construction of the Great Wall of China.
You could try different dishes with sticky rice! Have it regular, steamed rice to dig into your favorite dipping sauce or make a sweet sticky rice dish with coconut milk and slices of mango. Chef Seng created a sticky rice dessert special; she pounded it with coconut milk and avocado, topped with coconut shreds. She loves to find new modern ways to use sticky rice!
(2) Food from Northern Laos – The Boat Landing Cookbook.