Khao khua or toasted sticky rice powder, is made from uncooked sticky rice. It’s an essential ingredient used in many Thai dishes. It gives off a toasted popcorn kernel fragrance, which helps Thai dishes to smell aromatic! The authentic way to achieve this ingredient is to toast the sticky rice over a low charcoal fire until golden brown, then transfer it into a mortar and pestle and pound them to a coarse powder. If you don’t have a charcoal fire close by like me, that’s okay, because I’m going to show you a simpler way to make khao khua at home using a frying pan that’ll still get the job done. Let’s do this!
Khao khua is an essential ingredient in many Thai dishes. One that I made recently is called nam tok neua (Thai waterfall beef salad). Note that you don’t need to soak the sticky rice or oil the pan prior to cooking this. You want the sticky rice to be dry in order to achieve the toasted texture. Constantly stir the sticky rice over medium heat until they turn golden brown. This took me about 10 minutes.
Be careful not to touch the toasted sticky rice right away after removing the frying pan from the hot surface. It’ll be HOT! Give it a few minutes before pounding them into a coarse powder. I’ve found that it’s easier to grind this in small batches. Be prepared to work out your arms! 😉 But if you’re looking for an easier alternative to save both the time and work, I would just use an electric food grinder to make this step faster. Just remember to keep the powder coarse!
So why make your own toasted sticky rice powder instead of just buying the store-bought powder? Good question. The store-bought powders do indeed taste great. In fact, it makes cooking Thai dishes easier and faster. But it might not be as fresh and it seems to taste saltier due to added ingredients. I personally think that making your own tastes so much more fresh and authentic. You can definitely taste the difference. Store your own inside an air-tight jar container at room temperature for the next time you need it!
- 1 cup of sticky rice
- On medium heat, pour the sticky rice onto your frying pan and constantly stir for 10 minutes or until sticky rice turns golden brown.
- Once the toasted sticky rice cools, transfer it into a mortar and pestle and pound them into a coarse powder. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, use an electric food grinder.
- Pounding the toasted sticky rice powder into a mortar and pestle may take about 15-20 minutes.