During the colder months, we love hearty meals around the campfire. One of our favorites is a Lao inspired camp meal that’s easy to pack and prep.
We particularly love sticky rice as a side. Sticky rice is easy on the budget and easy to polish off at mealtime. You can eat it plain, dip it in soy sauce, and pair it with sausage, dumplings, or your favorite protein. This is our favorite sticky rice recipe alongside a few recommended main dishes.
We hope you have as much fun making it as we did!
- Sweet rice (also known as “glutinous rice” and can be purchased as a long or short grain at most grocery stores and Asian markets)
- *If you aren’t able to locate sticky rice, jasmine rice works as a substitute. It won’t be quite as sticky, but it’ll definitely be tasty!
Lao Sticky Rice Cooked in a Bamboo Basket Steamer
1. Fill a large bowl with sweet rice and enough cold water to completely submerge the rice. Use your hand to gently swirl the rice in the water. Pour off the starchy water. Repeat this step until the water runs nearly clear (three rinses is usually enough).
Tip: If you substituted jasmine rice, rinse it more thoroughly. Sticky rice is sticky because of the absence of starch and jasmine rice has more starch than sweet rice.
2. Add fresh water back to the bowl of rinsed rice until the rice is completely submerged. Soak the rice for a minimum of two hours or up to 24 hours.
3. Once the rice has soaked, fill a metal pot with about two inches of water and bring the water to a boil. Test the water level with the basket steamer on top. You don’t want so much water that it touches the bottom of your basket or so little water that it fully evaporates before the rice cooks.
4. Drain the water from your rice and pour the soaked rice into the bamboo basket. Try not to leave any rice grains on the basket walls. Top the basket with a lid and set a timer for 15 minutes.
Tip: The rice cooks more evenly when the basket has been briefly soaked in water.
5. After 15 minutes, the rice at the bottom of the basket will have begun to cook, soften, and take on the cone shape of the bottom of the basket. At this point, pick up the basket and shimmy it to loosen the rice. Then shake the basket to flip the rice mound. The goal is to turn the rice so you can cook the opposite side. Cook the rice for an additional 10 minutes.
6. When the rice is cooked through, remove it from the stove and shake the basket to loosen the rice ball. Then tip the basket and plop the rice onto your plate.
7. Once cool, pinch a section off and roll it in your hand to form a round.
8. You just perfected sticky rice! It’s great dipped in soy sauce or paired with a protein!
Now that you have rice (and hopefully some leftovers), you can pair it with any number of meals. We love this sticky rice paired with some Lao sausage from the Asian market. Simply cook the sausage over the fire, slice, and enjoy!
And if you’re really feeling fancy, we recommend picking up some dumplings from your local market. Dumplings steamed or toasted over the fire are a great campsite meal with sticky rice as a side.
When are you headed on your next camping trip? Tag us if you tried the sticky rice and enjoyed it as much as we did!