How to make rice

This may sound a bit basic.. but I figured it’s a good place to start since Thai food revolves around rice. Even the Thai way to say ‘to eat’ is literally ‘to eat rice’ (kin khaaw). Making Thai rice is easy!

Clean the Rice

You should clean the rice until the water runs clear. I generally measure the rice in the rice cooker’s bowl, cover it with water, swirl it around a bit then drain. Repeat 3-4x or until the water isn’t cloudy anymore. This rinses off all the dirt and other stuff, as well as the powdery rice flour. Some people don’t advocate cleaning rice, because it rinses off all the vitamins. This is untrue unless you are using vitamin-added rice, which I have never seen in Thailand. So, wash away!

Cooking In A Rice Cooker

The formula for most rice cookers is 2 parts rice to 3 parts water. Add the rice & water together and cook in the rice cooker on it’s normal setting. Fluff the rice at the end with a spoon to separate it.

Cooking In A Pan

The formula for cooking on the stove top is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Put the rice & water in a sauce pan on high heat until your water boils, then lower it to the lowest heat your stove can do. Cook covered for 20 minutes.

Thai Sticky Rice

Thais also eat a very sticky rice, mostly in the North and North-Eastern parts of Thailand. This rice needs to be soaked for at least an hour or two in plain water before steaming. You cannot boil or put this type of rice in a rice cooker. Disaster will occur. You actually need a special piece of equipment, a special ‘sticky rice steamer’. After soaking the rice, add water to the bottom of the sticky rice steamer, and fill your rice into the basket. Make sure the water level is below the basket, otherwise you’ll ruin the rice. Cover the basket with a pan cover or something, and steam for 20 minutes.

Sticky rice needs to be covered after steaming or it will turn really really sticky and hard. Usually if you order it at a restaurant, it appears in a plastic bag inside a small basket. This is so that it doesn’t get too hard to eat.

A Bit About Thai Rice…

In my opinion Thai Jasmine rice is the tastiest in the world. The smell is sweet and nutty and it’s perfectly sticky. If you are cooking Thai food, I recommend you try to find Thai rice to accompany your hard work. It really makes the meal!

Sometimes on bags of rice you’ll see ‘Thai Hom Mali’ rice. Hom is the Thai word for fragrant, and Mali is Jasmine, so essentially it’s just saying “Thai Fragrant Jasmine Rice”.

In a Thai restaurant, if you want to order rice, you ask for ‘khaaw suay’ which literally means ‘beautiful rice’.


12 thoughts on “How to make rice

  1. I have to say you are quite right when you speak of Thai fragrant rice. It is wonderful! Thank you for this site! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Came here from the link you shared on Chow. I soak my sticky rice overnight, but I don’t cover it when I steam it, so I guess it evens out.

    I love your site – thanks for making it.

  3. I’ve heard that some Thai fragrant rice is made fragrant using dodgy chemicals (this was from a Chinese source, so maybe they are just jealous hahaha!), and so I’ve avoided it since…

    Do you know how they make it fragrant and whether sometimes dubious chemicals are used?

    I’m also in awe at your wonderful site. Thank you.

  4. Matt –
    Thai rice is naturally fragrant. There are no chemicals which make it smell & taste the way it does, it’s simply the strain of rice. I’d be much more wary of Chinese products!

    I’m glad everyone likes the site ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. We buy 10kg bags of Thai Jasmine rice at least twice a year, and have been doing that for a very long time. Before we were “converted” to Thai Jasmine we used to buy 100 lb bags of rice in Chinatown in Vancouver BC and that would keep us in rice for about 6 months. This was when we had 7 kids to feed as well as ourselves, now we are down to just the two of us, kids are all producing grandkids for us now! I have been cooking Asian since 1952, and got interested in Thai cooking about 20 years ago, still do some Chinese, such as Ma Po Tofu, and other Szechuan dishes, but my main focus now is Thai, both at home and when eating out. Congrats on your site, it is great. Cheers, old Doug in BC Canada

  6. Another very good way to cook Thai Jasmine rice is to use the Galloping Gourmet’s (Graham Kerr) method. This results in fluffy rice and you do not have to be concerned about getting the quantity of water right. Bring a lot of salted water to a boil and put in your rice. Stir during that first minute to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Return to a boil and cook exactly 10 minutes. Dump the rice into a collander and run a bit of hot tap water through it. Put the collander onto a pot that has a half inch or so of boiling water in it and cover. Start a timer when the water returns to a boil and steam for exactly 8 minutes.

  7. Hello, I like very mutch your sait. Im from Chile, I have been in Thailnad and I love the food, the culture, and Singa!!! Im a Chef who wants to open a thai restaurant in Chile… I hope this sait will help me as I think it will… Thanks for the sait and adios……

  8. Please keep going on and continue to add excellent posts. That’s big help for me. You are tops.Great! You have done a terrific job communicating your message.

  9. I have a daughter-in-law and 6 year old granddaughter from the Philippines. My granddaughter and I have a “secret” — I am making a Filipino Sweet Rice Cake for Xmas dessert. Little did I know what I was getting into. I went to a Philippine grocery store and bought white sweet rice. NOW I find you don’t just cook it. I think what I am supposed to do is soak it first and then steam it. If anybody out there is reading this and can send me any helpful info — even after Xmas, I would be grateful!

  10. Hi a saw your web site the food looks amazing and mouth watering. Sure gona try one off them, i was wondering do you have any recipes to make your ordinary rice into something .. well with a bang. i saw one where they used lemon, garlic and spinach. Just add that to the rice and your done. It sound good and tasty but not really what i’m looking for looking for something more interesting. Do you have any other suggestion maybe. Thanx a lot.

    1. Hey Clary,
      Thais don’t really do much of that, but I’d look into South Asian and Middle Eastern recipes – they do some awesome things with flavoured rice. Also Mexican. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Good luck!

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