This steamed sticky rice is perfect for making vegan sushi, serving with stir fries and curries, and creating a base for Buddha Bowls and burritos. It’s a classic Chinese family recipe from World of Vegan writer Gina House. Enjoy!
Growing up, steamed sticky rice was a staple in our humble home. When I was very young, we lived in an aging, three-story apartment building with my Chinese grandparents and many of my dad’s brothers and sisters. Having really good rice always ready to eat not only made it easier to feed such a flourishing family (my dad is the second oldest of 11 children!), but was also economical and simply sensible.
My dad loved having a bowlful of rice with almost every meal. You may think that this plain, white grain would be pretty boring, but I actually loved it then and I still do now. (For a fun challenge, try eating a big bowl of rice with only chopsticks!) When I finally asked my dad to teach me how to make it, he was happy to show me step-by-step and I’ve been making it ever since.
If you’re searching for a single, satisfying side to add to your sizzling stir-fries or bean-filled burritos, this is the recipe for you. Peek in your pantry and fill up a nice cup of rice––you’ll be surprised at how much this makes for such a low price.
I don’t know about you, but I could eat rice with pretty much any dish. There’s just something so satisfying about a perfect mound of white rice resting next to crisp, colorful veggies or a saucy tofu stir-fry. If you’re stumped on ideas of how to serve your sticky rice, I’m here to help!
My grandfather, Ting George Chin, (after a couple of small successes with restaurants in the early 60s) opened up his final Chinese restaurant, Ho Ho’s, in 1967 in Johnston, Rhode Island and all of the family had a job helping out (even my sister and I cleaned and waited tables when we were old enough). When the restaurant became wildly popular for its tempting Cantonese cuisine, they opened up a larger location in Smithfield, Rhode Island in 1980. Even when the doors finally closed in 2018, there were many people still dreaming of the delightfully delicious dishes they had enjoyed over the years.
One main item that was never in question was serving steamed sticky rice with most meals. Although the restaurant was far from vegan, the most authentic offerings on the menu were more plant-based––such as rice, vermicelli noodles, steamed and stir-fried vegetables (bok choy, pea pods, Chinese celery, broccoli, and mushrooms), soups with greens (napa cabbage, winter melon, and spinach), black bean sauce, and tofu. Although white rice is more processed than brown, you can still get the benefits of B-vitamins and a punch of protein from this fat-free food.
PHOTO: The Ting George Chin Family, owners of Ho Ho Restaurant in Rhode Island. My father, Thomas, is standing on the left of his mother (my grandmother), Jean. Photo taken in the 1960s.
Yes, it does! Did you know that rice has been cultivated in China for over 10,000 years? There are also two main types of rice grown in this country—japonica (moist and sticky when cooked, ideal to use for steamed sticky rice) and indica (flakier and drier than the japonica plant).
Rice is not only produced to eat cooked along with a meal (or as a meal itself), but is additionally important in the production of noodles (mmm…noodles), alcoholic beverages (ie. rice wine), and also oil (as with rice bran). Because rice is naturally free of gluten, it makes a wonderful substitute for anyone who is sensitive to wheat and still wants to enjoy a grain-based dish.
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Unless you’re feeding a few people, you’ll probably have some leftover steamed sticky rice. Place any remaining rice into a closed, covered container. It will last in the fridge for at least a few days.
This is a great recipe to batch cook––just double the amount of rice and water so that you can have enough rice to last all week or half to freeze for later use. You may need a larger saucepan or dutch oven if you’re doubling this recipe.
Rice is super easy to store and can taste just as good the next day if you know the right way to reheat it. Either add your rice to a microwave safe container with a splash of water, cover, and heat for 1-2 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave) or add to a steamer basket, cover, and steam for 1-2 minutes or until desired temperature.
To freeze, add the cooled, cooked rice to a freezer safe container or sealed bag. It can safely be frozen for up to one month. To reheat frozen rice, follow the above directions, but stir after 2 minutes and then cook for another 2 minutes after that.
Steamed Sticky Rice Recipe and article by Gina House and photos by JJ Steele, copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Article edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which helps support our work at World of Vegan.