Khao tom is a Laotian steamed dessert made with sweet sticky rice, coconut and a variety of additions to taste, all wrapped up in banana leaves.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (23 votes)


  • 500 g sticky rice, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 2 cups freshly grated coconut mixed with a pinch of salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) warm water
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g cooked kidney beans
  • 12 pieces banana leaves
  • 1 sweet Asian banana, halved lengthways and diagonally sliced
  • 200 g taro, diagonally sliced, cut into chips and boiled for 2 minutes, drained

Cook's notes

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

You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

Rinse the soaked rice, then drain. Steam for 25 minutes, or until cooked.

Place the grated coconut with salt and warm water in a bowl and combine well. Using your hands, squeeze coconut well to extract coconut cream, then strain liquid to remove any solids. You need 250 ml (1 cup) liquid for this recipe.

Place the coconut cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the sugar and cook until dissolved, then add the kidney beans. Pour the coconut mixture over the sticky rice and mix well.

Cut each banana leaf into 21 cm pieces. To soften, steam for 5 minutes, or allow to dry in the sun until pliable.

Place 1 tbsp of the sticky rice mixture onto each banana leaf and top with a piece of sugar banana or taro. Repeat with remaining rice, banana and taro. Fold into parcels and steam, seam-side down, for 35 minutes.


• You could use 250 ml (1 cup) ready-made coconut cream instead of extracting the cream from fresh coconut, if you like.