Getting Creative with sticky rice
How well do you know sticky rice?
We have explored the rich history of sticky rice – or glutinous rice – as it’s sometimes called. Sticky rice has been a staple in Southeast Asia for over a thousand years, and is an important part of life, culture. But because it’s so tasty, and versatile, its popularity has since spread all around the world.
Sticky rice can be enjoyed on its own, as a side or as part of a larger meal. It can be sweet, it can be savoury, and it can be somewhere in the middle. From rice bowls and rice muffins, to nori sandwiches or triangular onigiri, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
So, fasten your seatbelts as we explore a handful of our favourite sticky rice recipes from around the world. To inspire your creativity in the comfort of your own home.
Poke bowls, Hawaii’s main course
The poke bowl (not to be confused with pokéballs, used to capture Pokémon) is pronounced poe-kay, and originates from Hawaii. Poke is diced raw fish, traditionally served with sweet onions, green onions, inamona (a local relish) and sesame oil.
Modern poke recipes have been influenced quite heavily by Japanese culture and can contain raw fish, soy sauce, seaweed, and wasabi. And of course… sticky rice. If you fancy a go yourself, check out our recipe for a colourful and fresh salmon poke bowl.
Sushi, the people’s favourite
Sushi may have its roots deeply embedded in the land of the rising sun, but it’s now enjoyed all over the world. As Japanese culture spread across the Pacific it arrived in The Golden State. And it’s of course there that the now famous Californian roll was born, AKA uramaki.
The maki-style roll consists of prawn or crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and a lick of wasabi – Japanese horseradish. All wrapped together with sticky rice and nori seaweed sheets. It’s often served with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, which gives the roll its iconic golden colour. Check the recipe for yourself right here.
Of course, sushi comes in many shapes and sizes, with some of the most popular being nigirizushi, makizushi, sashimi, and the rainbow roll. There’s a real art form attached to rolling and preparing the perfect sushi dish, but we like to think we can offer you a little bit of a shortcut, with our ready-to-heat sticky rice, which needs to go in the microwave for just 90 seconds.
Onigiri, the Japanese staple
Onigiri, also known as omusubi or nigirimeshi in certain Japanese circles, is most often seen in a triangular shape, with a neatly trimmed slice of nori tucked along its base. To the uninitiated, onigiri might look like a fairly plain lump of sticky rice (sometimes decorated with sesame seeds), but they’re often filled with some tasty delights. The innards can range from the likes of tuna and salmon to more regional names, like umeboshi – a sort of pickled apricot – and tarako, which is Alaskan pollock. To try your hand at making onigiri at home, we’ve got a great recipe for you to follow here.
Southeast Asian snack staples
Down in Thailand, sticky rice is enjoyed as a snack on the go and is often wrapped in a banana leaf, or in a small steaming bag, so it can be eaten in chunks by hand. Whereas in neighbouring Burma, sticky rice is often enjoyed for the most important meal of the day, breakfast. It’s cooked with finely sliced onion, turmeric and dried shrimp. A perfect way to start any day, in our books.
The possibilities are endless
We could talk about sticky rice until the cows come home, as it really is one of those products that just begs for a bit of experimentation. But until the next time you’re whipping up a frenzy in the kitchen, perhaps consider a traditional Southeast Asian rice pudding, a mango sticky rice, or perhaps something a little heartier, like kokoro – which literally means heart, mind, spirit.
For more recipes, meal ideas and product guides, check out some of our other articles right here.