Don’t you just LOVE sticky rice? We do! I actually only tasted it for the first time a few months ago at a Vietnamese cooking course run by Geraldine of Rainforest Bounty, and came home and made it for my family, who were instantly addicted! First let me tell you a little about the Rainforest Bounty Cooking School…
Geraldine of Rainforest Bounty Cooking School – environmental scientist and talented cook!
The Rainforest Bounty Cooking School is in the edge of the rainforest, close to the base of Bartle Frere, on the Atherton Tablelands (about 15 minutes drive from where I live). You can choose from Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Laos/Thai, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean classes. It’s a ‘paddock to plate’ class, beginning with morning tea and a chat about the wonderful bounty found in our north Queensland rainforest, and what it can be used for (including sampling Geraldine’s gourmet Rainforest Bounty condiments). Then it’s on with the gumboots and off to the garden and native fruit orchards to learn more about the local ‘bush tucker’, gathering what’s needed for the class as we go…
Ingredients for the class are from the rainforest orchard and kitchen garden, together with Rainforest Bounty gourmet condiments, as well as heirloom varieties of fruit and vegetables sourced from local organic farmers, fishermen, gardeners and artisanal producers.
Then it’s back to the kitchen where the fun begins…
Making rice noodles and preparing banana flowers for the banana flower with rainforest lemon salad. (By the way, you don’t eat the purple bits, they’re for decoration.Or the blossoms. Just part of the white, inner leaves.)
I highly recommend the Rainforest Bounty classes – they’re a lot of fun and you’ll learn heaps! Geraldine has lived, worked and travelled extensively in South East Asia, and is a great teacher. To see more photos, check out my Facebook page.
Anyway, back to the sticky rice… as you can see in the photo above, sticky rice is steamed, not boiled. This is the traditional way of cooking it – in a bamboo mat/funnel kind of thing over a pot of boiling water, with a cloth draped over it to keep the steam in. It must be soaked first for at least six hours. My friend Bel and I were watching the rice being cooked, and thinking there must be a way to do it in the Varoma (steamer) of the Thermomix. And there is! The great thing about it is that you can also cook your curry at the same time as the rice steams!!
I love all-in-one Thermomix meals that make the most of the Varoma, so I was very pleased to find a recipe in the Travelling with Thermomix cookbook that uses this method of cooking sticky rice. (If you’re lucky enough to have a copy of this hard-to-get cookbook, the recipe is ‘Stewed Beef with Tamarind and Sticky Rice’ in the Thai section.) This is a great way to cook rice if you want to cook a lot – you can fit much more rice in the Varoma than you can in the rice basket. Of course, regular rice needs to be cooked in the basket where the water can whoosh through it, but sticky rice cooks perfectly in the Varoma as it only needs steam to cook. Don’t forget you need to soak it for at least six hours first though, so plan ahead.
Here’s my version of Geraldine’s Vietnamese Fish Curry – I’ve changed a few of the ingredients to make it more to my taste, and converted it to the Thermomix… so it may not be quite so authentic now, but it’s still very yummy! Hope you like it 🙂
- Glutinous rice
- water to cover
- 600g fresh, firm-fleshed white fish (cut in 2cm cubes)
- 1 Tblspn coconut oil
- 500g pumpkin, cut in 2cm cubes
- 500ml coconut milk (you can make your own!)
- 2 stalks of lemon grass (white part only)
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp Rainforest Fruits Jeowbong
- 1 medium red chilli, deseeded
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 inches fresh turmeric (or 2 tsps dried turmeric powder)
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 inch fresh galangal
- 2 tsp palm sugar
- 2 tsp chicken stock paste
- 2 shallots (white part only, save green parts for later)
- 1/2 tsp good quality fish sauce
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp lemon aspen juice (or a squeeze of lemon juice)
- 2 Tblspns gf soy sauce or tamari
- First, get the rice soaking. I soak mine in the Thermoserver all day, then cook this for dinner at night. You at least need 6 hours of soaking time.
- An hour before dinner time, start preparing the curry. First you need to make the paste. Mix together curry ingredients in the Thermomix on speed 9 for 15 seconds.
- Pour half the paste into a bowl, and set aside the remaining paste in another bowl. Cube the fish, and leave it to marinate while you prepare the curry sauce.
- Heat the oil in the Thermomix on 100 degrees for 2 mins, speed 1.
- Add the remaining paste and cook for 4 minutes at 100 degrees, speed 2. Meanwhile, strain the water off the rice and tip it into the Varoma dish, poking a hole in the middle for the steam to get through.
- Add pumpkin, coconut milk and lemon grass to bowl, place Varoma on top, and cook at Varoma temperature for 25 minutes, reverse speed soft. chop up the green parts of the shallots and throw them in instead, saving some for the garnish.
- Remove Varoma and check if the rice is cooked. It will be all stuck together, so don't stir it too much, just push the sides in a bit with a fork if they need more cooking, and re-poke the hole in the middle.
- Add the fish and paste to the Thermomix bowl, replace Varoma, and cook for 5 minutes at Varoma temp, reverse, speed soft. If you're worried the fish may break up, you can insert the butterfly.
- Serve it up... If you want to keep the rice 'sticky', serve it next to the curry, as it 'unsticks' once it gets wet. Garnish individual serves with sliced shallots.
I hope you enjoy it as much as my kids do!!