Fragrant Sticky Rice

Served with fresh fruit, this densely creamy side dish, scented with makrut lime leaves and lemongrass, would make a terrific breakfast.

Fragrant Sticky Rice
Photo: © Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 3 banana leaves, thawed (see Note)

  • 2 cups short-grain sweet rice, soaked overnight and drained

  • 1 cup coconut water

  • 2 makrut lime leaves, chopped, or two 2-inch strips of lime zest

  • 1 tender inner bulb of fresh lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  • 1 green Thai chile, minced

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Salt

  • Fleur de sel, for sprinkling


  1. Line the lower tier of a large, wide 2-tiered bamboo steamer with 1 banana leaf. Spread the soaked rice on the bamboo leaf in an even layer. Set the steamer in a wok or skillet over 3 inches of boiling water. Cover and steam over moderately high heat for about 10 minutes, until the rice is somewhat softened but still chewy. Remove the steamer from the wok.

  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the coconut water with the lime leaves and lemongrass. Strain the coconut water through a fine sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids. Add the rice to the bowl along with the shredded coconut, chile and sugar and stir well. Season with salt.

  3. Cut the remaining 2 banana leaves into ten 8-inch squares. Place about 1/2 cup of rice in the center of each square and press to form 4-inch cakes; fold the leaves over the rice to make square packages.

  4. Arrange the packages on both tiers of the steamer and return it to the wok. Cover and steam over moderately high heat for 12 minutes, until the rice is tender. Transfer the packages to a platter. Carefully cut them open, sprinkle the rice with fleur de sel and serve.

Make Ahead

The sticky rice can be prepared up to 3 hours ahead.


Banana leaves are available at Latin and Asian supermarkets and specialty shops.

One serving 185 cal, 36 gm carb, 3 gm fat, 2.5 gm sat fat, 3 gm protein, 2 gm fiber.

Serve With

Steamed Red Snapper with Mushrooms and Ginger.

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