Black Thai Sticky Rice
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Black Thai Sticky Rice is usually lumped in (almost a pun) with Black Sticky Rice but they are actually different specific types of Rice.

There are thousands of rice varieties and it is pretty confusing to identify those little, similar colored grains. We can try though.

Thai Sticky Rice is an oddity among the Rice types because it is a Long Grain Rice and a Sticky Rice (most Long Grain Rice are Starchy Rice). Black Sticky Rice is a more typical Short Grain Rice and a Sticky Rice.

The black color in both of rice types comes from their Rice Bran, the nutrient-rich, oily outer layer of the grain. The oiliness comes from Rice Bran Oil. This means that Black Thai Sticky Rice is Thai Sticky Rice but with its black/purple Rice Bran intact. Essentially it is analogous to Brown Rice, except that its Rice Bran is black/purple. If the Rice Bran is removed through milling, it will become White Thai Sticky Rice. Black Thai Sticky Rice is not Wild Rice, though they have a similar look.

Black Thai Sticky Rice also goes by the names “Thai Purple Sticky Rice,” “Thai Black Glutinous Rice,” and “Black Thai Sweet Rice,” and “kao niow dahm” in Thailand (kao is rice; niow, sticky; dahm, black).

Black Thai Sticky Rice is hard for the average U.S. resident to identify because most of the packaging will be written in Thai or Tagalog or Chinese and will be sitting on a shelf at the Asian market.

The best we can do for you here is to provide a description and a photo. Black Thai Sticky Rice should be black/purple in color, with an opaque black or purple grain.

Season

Black Thai Sticky, like most Rice is sown in the late Spring and harvested in the Summer.

Cultivation

See the General Rice Resource for broad Rice cultivation information.

Production

Black Sticky Rice is native to Thailand, but it is now also grown in California.See the General Rice Resource for more Rice production information.

Purchasing

The first problem when trying to purchase Black Thai Sticky Rice is to find it on a shelf. Your best bet will be to visit an Asian Market, a potentially a Specialty Grocer or look online.

The second problem once you have found a source for Thai Sticky Rice is to make sure that you end up with the right kind of Rice. The first clue that you are on the right track will be if there is the word “Thai” on the package. It may say “Thai Sticky Rice” or “Thai Sweet Rice” or even “Thai Glutinous Rice.” It may only say “Product of Thailand.” If it is a Filipino product, it may say “Malagkit” on the package.

If the package doesn’t say any of the above, another way to go is to look for Thai writing that looks like the following:  ข้าวเหนียว. If you see any of the aforementioned, and the Rice grains look opaque and black/purple, you should be good. 

Storage

Because Black Thai Sticky Rice retains its Bran Layer (with the Rice Bran Oil which will go Rancid), it has a shorter shelf life than White Thai Sticky Rice and requires a little different handling and philosophy to maximize your yield and value.

With Black Thai Sticky Rice, how you store it revolves around how quickly you plan to use it. If you plan to use it all in a few weeks, store the Black Thai Sticky Rice in an airtight container in a cool dark place like your pantry. Sealed, it may last 3-6 months but will be best for only a few weeks. If you open your package from the pantry, store the unused portion in the refrigerator or freezer for a better shelf life.

In the refrigerator, sealed, your Black Thai Sticky Rice will last for 6-12 months in an airtight container. Frozen, you should get 12-18 months (for best quality).

Let cooked Black Thai Sticky Rice cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked Black Thai Sticky Rice will last about 3-6 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days. Black Thai Sticky Rice hardens faster than regular rice.

Culinary Uses

Uncooked, Black Thai Sticky Rice looks black but when cooked it turns deep purple and softens. Cooked Black Thai Sticky Rice has a sweet, nutty flavor, a lot of weight and heft for its size, and a sticky texture.

Thai Cuisine often uses it for Breakfast, Puddings,and in Desserts, but it also makes an excellent bed for entrées (especially Southeast Asian Fruit and Vegetable dishes) and is great as Stuffing or a Side Dish.

Unlike White Thai Sticky Rice, Black Thai Sticky Rice is not pressed into a ball and eaten one broken-off morsel at a time.

Chefs differ on how to cook Black Thai Sticky Rice. Uncooked Black Thai Sticky Rice is essentially a “Brown Rice” with the Rice Bran still intact, and it is tough. Additionally, older Black Thai Sticky Rice is much drier and tougher than younger “new crop” Black Thai Sticky Rice. The packaging often will give you an indication of the products age or you will find out as you cook the first batch.

Old crop Black Thai Sticky Rice requires much more time and hydration to cook than new crop Black Thai Sticky Rice. For example, new crop Black Sticky Rice may need 2 cups of water to cook ½ cup of Rice in 15 minutes but older Black Thai Sticky Rice may need 4 cup of water to cook ½ cup of Rice in 40-45 minutes. Be prepared to play it by ear and be flexible.

We believe Black Thai Sticky Rice benefits from a soaking, as long as overnight, but even a 30 minute bath helps. A portion of our approach is shaped by the amount of time available. For example, if you are under the gun, you can take a shortcut and soak it for as little as 3 minutes (rub the Rice with your palms to clean it) and then run it under the faucet for another 3 minutes (in a Sieve, Strainer,or Colander). At the outset, the water will run purple. When it is running clear, you are ready to cook the Black Thai Sticky Rice.

You can also just Simmer the Black Thai Sticky Rice and hope for the best. If you do, make sure to start using your focused attention about 15 minutes before you expect the rice to be done (more on cook time below) and do some tasting.

Ultimately, the goal is to Gelatinize the Rice (let the internal starches absorb water) and then heat it so that it becomes soft and palatable. The traditional cooking method is to soak the Black Thai Sticky Rice before cooking it.

In our opinion, Black Thai Sticky Rice is best Steamed, but can also be carefully Simmered like a Sticky Rice. The second method is described in Smart Kitchen’s Cooking Sticky Rice Exercise.

Properly cooked Black Thai Sticky Rice should be tender, but not mushy. If it is too crunchy, give it a little more time to cook. Once cooked, Thai Sticky Rice gets stickier the longer it sits either at room temperature or refrigerated.

The most traditional use for Black Thai Sticky Rice is in the famous Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango but Black Thai Sticky Rice is also good for use in Soups, Curries (Red Thai Curry or Green Thai Curry), Satay, Laab, Thai BBQ Chicken, Crispy Fried Salty Fish, Thai Fish Cakes, etc.

Because it bleeds its black/purple color when cooking, use Black Thai Sticky Rice in dishes that can handle some black or purple. Also because it is heavy, avoid using it with dishes where you want it to absorb some moisture or Sauce. It is not very absorbent. It is also not a great choice for making Fried Rice or Stir Fry.

If you have leftover Black Sticky Rice, you may want to make Rice Snack Crackers with them.

Pairings

Black Thai Sticky Rice pairs well with Seafood and Pork.

Substitutes

Black Sticky Rice, Black Glutinous Rice.

Nutritional Value

1 cup (300g)

Calories 213

Calories from Fat 18

Total Fat 2 g 3%

Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%

Sodium 200 mg 8%

Carbohydrates 45.2 g 15%

Dietary Fiber 2.9 g 12%

Sugars 0.2 g

Protein 3.5 g

Nutrition

Black Thai Sticky Rice has a lot of powerful, natural antioxidants because of its high Anthocyanin content. Anthocyanin is reported to be helpful against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes