Informally called Khao Suay which means ‘beautiful rice,’ Jasmine Rice (Khao Hom Mali, ข้าวหอมมะลิ) is so deeply entrenched in the psyche (and pantry) of the shared national experience that the phrase Kin Khao – which means to eat food – literally means ‘to eat rice’.
Read our post on how to cook jasmine rice
Not to overstate it – but rice is entirely central to Thai food. Jasmine rice is a long-grain variety which has a slightly floral hint to it. When cooked, the soft, yielding grains give substance to the overall meal.
On the other hand, Thai Sticky Rice (Khao Niao, ข้าวเหนียว) requires less water to cultivate and is consumed predominantly in Isaan and the Northern Highlands of the country where water is more scarce.
Recipes using jasmine rice:
- Shredded chicken with celery and basil
- Thai ground chicken with lime and cilantro
- Thai ground pork with chili sauce
- Shrimp and ginger stir fry
- Jungle curry
Sticky rice is a glutinous grain, soaked for around four hours and then steamed dry. The rice is then plucked with the fingers, rolled into a little ball and used for scooping up the dishes around the table.
And at the end of a meal, it is not uncommon to see appreciative diners put their hands together in a Wai and thank the rice for filling their bellies.