Friday, March 9, 2012

Short-cut Thai sticky rice

Yesterday, as I stood by the stove making dinner, I listened to my daughter speaking to her Daddy, who had just come home from work, in the other room.

 Daughter: "I hope we are grown up when you both die"
I don’t know what went through his head before answering but probably something along the lines of what I was thinking. That it is important to say the right thing, to help her understand that death is inevitable, that it is part of the cycle of life. That people die, sometimes unfortunately sooner than expected. But also to reassure her and comfort her, to let her know we will always be there for her, that she should not grow up being scared of losing us. That it is good to speak openly of death as a way of exorcising this fear but that is also important for a child to feel safe.


Daddy: "If we are lucky, God willing, we will die when we are much older than we are now and you will be all grown up".

After a moment of silence, during which she thought about what her father (the man who can do all and who knows everything) had said, she answered matter-of-factly:

"Or at least if you die before that, I hope you and Mommy have enough time to drop us off with a family".
I snorted from the kitchen. She had already figured it all out.

I think it is hilarious (if you can use that word for this subject) that in her 6-year old mind, Daddy and Mommy is a unit, a package deal. We go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Sandy and Danny, like rain and bad hair days. If Daddy goes, Mommy goes, same time, same day. Widow and widower are words that have not yet entered her lexicon. Thank goodness, might I add.

                            Source: via Nuts on Pinterest

As children, I clearly remember my sister and I saying things like: "When you die can you leave me that ring/blouse/dress?"  this to my mother. She still gives us a hard time about it (rightly so).
I try to think back and recall what went through my mind when I said those things. I seem to remember there was no angst, no reasoning. It was a simple statement, a rational thought about something that you are no longer able to rationalize once you grasp the meaning, the implications of death. The pain, the loss, the emptiness, the grief.
I love the candidness of children, their lack of filters. I love how straightforward they are and I am grateful for the insight they give me, because their simple approach to things in life helps me make mine less complex, less convoluted. More often than not, keeping things simple is the best way to live.

                                         Source: via Nuts on Pinterest

 Simplicity is sometimes a good thing in cooking too. It is often the humblest dishes that we love and crave the most. Also, talking about simplicity, sometimes we discover that something we thought was difficult or tedious to make is actually really, really easy.
Am I the only one who thought making sticky rice required several steps and age-old techinique?
I love everything about Thai food but whatever I order, I always get sticky rice to go with it. Perhaps it was the banana leaf it often comes in suggesting exotic ingredients and nimble hands wrapping the tiny glutinous kernels with special techniques that scared me off.
And then I found a big bag of glutinous rice at my local Asian supermarket and when I researched on line I found out I could make it in under thirty minutes in my own home whilst reading a book!
There are two ways to go: the traditional way, which requires a longer soaking (even overnight), a steamer (although a traditional bamboo steamer is not necessary) and more patience than I had at the time. And the microwave way (finally I have found a way to use my microwave, which helped me warm many a bottle in the past years but that I usually eye with suspicion), that is so simple I almost laughed out loud when I read it.
Now I’m sure that if you are Thai or you live in Thailand or you are an expert of all things Thai, you will notice a difference between the original method and this short cut and I don’t suggest you follow it. Although I may be wrong. But for all of those who enjoy recreating the vibrancy of flavors and colors of Thai food in their own home without being purists, this tasted totally authentic to me.

My source suggests that the microwave rice may turn out a little stickier, softer. The rice I made did not turn out soft at all, it was perfectly sticky and toothsome at the same time. Perhaps it is because I soaked it for longer than 10 minutes because I was distracted by the kids. Apparently if the rice is soaked longer it absorbs less during cooking and thus stays firmer. I, actually we all, thought it was delicious.

glutinous rice
glass bowl or microwave resistant container

Soak the rice for about 20 minutes in luke warm water. For every cup of rice pour in a little over a cup of water, so that the water level is just above the rice level. Cover and cook in the microwave at maximum power for three minutes. Uncover, stir and repeat this process until the rice is cooked and traslucent. Timing depends on how powerful your microwave is. I cooked and stirred three times for a total of 9 minutes.

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  1. This looks delicious..Totally YUMMY


  2. Kids are so funny and oddly practical and straightforward aren't they? I remember my older cousin came to visit. We adored her but of course as soon as she came in we asked "When are you leaving?" because of course we wanted to know how long we had with her! :P

  3. I love sticky rice, but haven't ever attempted it. Too bad I don't have a microwave -- though maybe it's for the best, actually. I'd probably eat my weight in this stuff.

    (The best thing about kids is probably the fact that they just don't have a filter. You never have to wonder what's on their minds, do you?)

  4. I can't remember the title of the book (I will find out!), but my Mum completely fell in love with this novel where the little boy refers to his parents as 'mummydaddy'. In fact my parents still sometimes sign off emails to me like that aged 27!

    This rice looks lovely - I've never actually made sticky rice but would love to give it a go.

    1. Hah! Glad those things don't change, even when your kids grow up. Well at least not for parents, hehe.
      This method is so simple, it will become your new way to cook rice, I promise.

  5. I don't have a microwave, but after this I'm considering buying one. I love sticky rice, I prepare it now and again with the soak and steam method, but not as often as I'd love to. It is one of those foods where I get last-minute cravings, and besides, if you soak it for too long (read: forget about it), it turns out not really nice.

    I remember my little sister used to ask my mum about her jewels and what she'd get when mummy dies. I was old enough to know it was inappropriate to say, but I guess children need to toy with the idea of death, like they do with everything else.

    1. I rarely use my microwave either and have been thinking of using the counter space for something else but now I think I've changed my mind.
      I agree, kids have to find a way to grasp death. In the old days it was just there and you dealt with it in a different way. Today we tend to pamper our children to much, I think we shouldn't hide things that are a part of life even if we should shelter them to a degree.

  6. What a great post! Don't children feel so differently about death than we do. For them it's so much more simple. I love Thai food too. It is my favourite cuisine to cook xx

  7. A lovely post, out of the mouths of babes! Thai restaurants are something I miss living here in rural Italy.

  8. I remember having a similar conversation with my mother asking her please not to die. She reassured me, perhaps too much, because just a few years later, she did just that. Now it's been over 22 years and I'm still waiting for the time to come when I can say, well, my mother would have been old now. That's still about another 20 years off. It's one of my greatest fears that this would repeat itself in my own family, and I sure do not look forward to the day when Roman starts to ask those questions because I will break down in front of him.
    Right now in his sweet little 2 and a half year old self, he just says Mama Papa Family whenever we are all sitting on the couch together. Simple, as you say, and as far as life and security, it's all he needs to know.

    1. I also lost a very close family member when I was a child, my stepfather. We lived with him and he truly was a second father to me. I still miss him now, almost 30 days later, That is why I cannot bring myself to lie to my children about death, to tell them everything will be fine. That unfortunately doesn't always happen. I do however do not want them grow up afraid, I want their childhood to feel safe.


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