Luke Nguyen gives the recipe for this popular dish sold throughout Laos at markets and street stalls. A neat parcel of sweet sticky rice with banana it is a great snack when you need a lift of energy.
- 500 g glutinous rice, soaked in water overnight
- 400 ml coconut milk
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 200 g caster (super fine) sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 large banana leaves, cut into 20 cm x 30 cm rectangles
- 4 ripe bananas, peeled, halved lengthways, then crossways
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
Strain the rice and place it in a hot wok or saucepan. Stir in the coconut milk, salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the coconut milk has been absorbed and the rice is thick and sticky. Stir in the oil, then transfer the mixture to a tray and cool for 5-10 minutes.
Soften the banana leaves, either over a gas fire, in a hot frying pan, or by steaming or microwaving them for a few minutes. Lay a banana leaf on the bench. Place 1 heaped tbsp of the cooled rice in the centre of the leaf. Next add a single piece of banana, followed by another tbsp of rice on top of the banana – the banana should be sandwiched between the rice. Now fold the sides of the leaves over, as you would a parcel.
Repeat with the remaining banana leaves, rice and banana. If you have softened the leaves properly, you won’t need to use anything extra to secure the parcels.
Half-fill a large steamer, wok or saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Place the parcels in your steamer basket, seam side down, and set it over the pan of water. Steam for 30 minutes.
Enjoy the sticky rice cakes hot.