Chinese-Style Sticky Rice

From Cook's Country | February/March 2008
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Why this recipe works:

Chinese-style sticky rice should be just soft enough to soak up savory sauces in dishes like General Tso’s Chicken and just sticky enough to be easily eaten with chopsticks. Cooking the rice in boiling water agitated it and helped to release its starch, which made the rice sticky—just what we… read more

Chinese-style sticky rice should be just soft enough to soak up savory sauces in dishes like General Tso’s Chicken and just sticky enough to be easily eaten with chopsticks. Cooking the rice in boiling water agitated it and helped to release its starch, which made the rice sticky—just what we wanted for our Chinese-Style Sticky Rice recipe. When the escaping steam formed tiny holes in the surface of the rice, we had a reliable visual cue that it was time to cover the pot and let the rice finish cooking over low heat.

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Serves 4 to 6

Do not stir the rice as it cooks. The finished rice can stand off heat, covered, for up to 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Place rice in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Rinse under running water, swishing with hands until water runs clear. Drain thoroughly.

    2. Bring rinsed rice, water, and salt to boil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until water level drops below surface of rice and small holes form, about 5 minutes.

    3. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and water is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Starch Makes it Sticky

When developing the recipe for our Chinese-Style Rice, we found that rapidly boiling the rice for five minutes uncovered and then turning down the heat and covering the pot resulted in the sticky texture we desired. The stickiness is a result of the rapid boil, which agitates the grains and causes them to release excess starch into the cooking water. You know it’s time to cover the pot when small holes (marking the escape route of the steam) appear in the surface of the rice.

1. Vigorously boil the rice until the water level in the pot drops below the rice and small holes have formed in the surface of the rice. This will take about five minutes.

2. Slide the lid in place and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook the rice over very low heat until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes longer.

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