Celebrating New Year with Thai Sticky Rice and Alms Giving
Yesterday, April 17, 2011, I celebrated Thai New Year’s Day~ Songkran~ with Thai and American friends at the Songkran Festival at the Washington Buddhavanaram (Buddhist temple in Auburn, Washington ) It was so much fun, Sanuk.
First, we started with the alms-giving ritual. We gave offerings to the monks of steamed jasmine rice and steamed sticky rice, and for the first time I offered Chicken Biryani Rice (Kao Mok Gai) instead of the two other kinds of cooked rice.
Outside in the yard there were tents with prepared street foods of Thailand, just like at festivals in Thai villages. I sampled almost everything including grilled Thai sausage (Sai Grok Isan), sticky rice (Khoa Neow), green papaya salad (Som Tum), and noodle soup (Kuey Tiow Nahm), to name a few.
A majority of the guests at the festival were from Laos, northeastern Thailand and Cambodia. Steamed Sticky Rice (Khao Neow) is an important part of the day at many Thai gatherings, and Khao Neow and Som Tum are well-loved dishes for Thais who live abroad. As I have mentioned before, these two dishes are a good cure for homesickness for Thais.
We walked around, enjoying the sunny day and buying street food like Thai Chili Dip (Nam Prik) to take home. I got three different versions of this red-hot chili paste to season my steamed jasmine rice: Red Eye Chili Dip (Nam Prik Ta Daeng), Tilapia Chili Dip (Nam Prik Pla Nill) and Crunchy Pork Chili Dip (Nam Prik Moo Grob). Now these three Nam Prik are in my freezer for days when spicy hot food will comfort my mood.
In Burma, Laos, Thailand, Southern China and Cambodia, a part of celebrating Solar New Year is bathing and cleaning an image of Buddha. I celebrated this ritual here in Washington with many people from these countries.
Building a sand hillock and decorating it with flags is also a common practice.
Eating a lot of sticky rice and dancing to Laotian live music was a perfect “sanuk” day to welcome the new year.
Steamed Sticky rice
Khao Neow Nueng
Serves 6 to 8
Sticky rice is a long-grain rice with a sticky and soft texture. There are several names for sticky rice, including sweet rice and glutinous rice. Sticky rice is ideal for desserts as well as for serving with Northeastern dishes such Som Tum (green papaya salad) and Laab Neua (beef mint salad). There are also main dishes on my blog that are great to serve with steamed sticky rice, such as Green Papaya Salad with Smoked Salmon, Grilled Fish Sauce Chicken Wings (Peek Gai Nam Pla Yang), and Green Papaya Salad with Salted Crab and Rice Noodle (Som Tum Sua). This last recipe includes a video of my sister-in-law preparing the salad.
I hope you have a chance to learn how to cook steamed sticky rice. You may use a double boiler/steamer or purchase a bamboo steamer.2 cups sticky rice
Cover sticky rice with room temperature water at least 3 inches above the rice. Let rice sit for 2 hours or overnight, then drain off any excess water.
Steam sticky rice in a steamer with a lid over high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is soft. Flip the rice over so that the sticky rice on the top will go on the bottom and steam with the lid on for 5 more minutes. You can keep the rice warm for a few more minutes with the steamer on simmer, or remove it and keep it in a thermal-controlled container.
The steamed sticky rice is ready to serve with main dishes or to use in a dessert that requires steamed sticky rice.© 2011 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com .
- ~Sweet Rice, Banana & Bean Wrapped in Banana Leaf Recipe~ (ilovethaicooking.wordpress.com)
- For Research (l2ee2l.wordpress.com)
- Mango Sticky Rice (favabeansnchianti2.wordpress.com)