Even though there are many types of rice grown in Thailand, only Thai jasmine rice known as "khao hom mali" or "Thai fragrant rice" is well-known for its unrivaled quality, a unique aroma and a delicate pandan-like flavor caused by 2-acetyl-1-pyroline.
There are two veritable varieties; Dork Mali 105 and Gor Khor 15. These two supreme varieties can only be cultivated once a year and in a particular salty desert in North Eastern of Thailand. The land’s unique soil provides abundant minerals for the rice.
Jasmine rice’s aromatic scent can be disappearing if it is kept in a high temperature room. It is best stored in a cool ( 15 – 20 C) and dry condition.
Cooking Tip: Jasmine rice may require to be washed and rinsed before cooking. Cooking the rice requires minimum amount of water, especially for new crop rice grain. A cup of rice grain usually uses one and a quarter to one and a half cup of water.
"Khao Niew" also known as "glutinous rice" as it becomes sticky when cooked. Sticky rice is a staple diet throughout North and North Eastern provinces of Thailand. Besides, sticky rice is also produced as local rice wine and glutinous starch for Thai desserts.
There are two sticky rice varieties; white sticky rice (khao niew khao), and black sticky rice (khao niew dam). White sticky rice is often served with various Thai dishes, and it is an ideal ingredient for Thai desserts such as mango and sticky rice. While black sticky rice is usually served as dessert; coconut sticky rice served with various sweet toppings.
Cooking Tip: Sticky rice requires to be soaked in water at least 3 hours prior steaming. New sticky rice grain may require 2 hours. Drain out the water. Prepare the steamer and bring to boil. Place the soaked sticky rice in a white clean tea towel and place in a steamer. Cover the lit. It takes about 25-30 minutes to cook the rice. Make sure the bottom of steamer is not wet from the boiling water which could result in wet sticky rice. Serve sticky rice hot with your favorite Thai dishes. Sticky rice can be refrigerated in a sealed container and re-steam as needed.
"Wun Sen" also known as bean threads, cellophane noodles, crystal noodles, or mung bean threads. These clear and small noodle threads are made from starches such as mung bean starch, potato starch, or cassava starch with water. It usually comes in a dried bunch with a string tied around. It is often used for spring rolls, glass noodle salad, soups or stir fry dishes.
Cooking Tip: Cut off the white string before use and soak it in warm water for 5 minutes before cooking. For adding in a salad dish, cook the soaked glass noodle in boiling water shortly approx 1-2 minutes. It will turn transparent quickly. For stir frying, add the soaked glass noodle in a wok close to the end. Cooking too long can spoil the noodles.
"Sen Mee Kaow or Sen Mee" is the smallest size among other rice noodle types. It is white rice in colour and is as small as glass noodle but it is not transparent. It is made from rice flour.
Cooking Tip: Dried rice vermicelli requires cooking in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and drained before adding into a wok for stir fry or cook it a little longer for adding into a noodle soup.
"Bami or Bami Lheung" has many different types and various sizes. This egg noodle is yellow due to egg and wheat flour ingredients. It is basically made of what flour, salt and water. The small and thin egg noodles are great for soup noodle dishes while the thicker egg noodles are perfect for stir fried dishes.
Cooking Tip: Dried egg noodle needs to be cooked in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depends on how thick the noodle is. Add the cooked egg noodle for your favorite noodle style.
Small-sized flat rice noodles
"Sen Lek" is made from rice flour. Bedsides adding these rice noodles into soup noodle dishes, it is also used to substitute with a particular noodle for pad Thai dish called "sen chan" which I will describe in the next row.
Cooking Tip: Dried small-sized flat rice noodles requires to be soaked in water for a 10-15 minutes until softened, then drained before cooking. You can add the soaked noodle into a wok for stir frying or a noodle soup dish.
Medium-sized flat rice noodles
"Sen Chan" are slightly wider than "sen lek". The noodles are particularly used for Pad Thai noodle dish. The name of "Sen Chan" is actually being called after the town Chantaburi, a province in Thailand, where the noodle is being made. When purchasing sen chan noodle, it is not obviously shown on the package but it is instead shown "Rice Stick – Banh Pho"
Cooking Tip: The dried Sen Chan noodle requires to be soaked in warm water about 10-15 minutes until softened, then drained before adding into a wok for stir frying. An ideal for stir fry dishes or soups.
Large-sized flat rice noodles
"Sen Yai" is much wider than sen lek or sen chan. It is an ideal noodle for Pad Se-ew noodle dish and other stir fried noodle dishes.
Cooking Tip: The dried large-sized flat rice noodles requires to be soaked in water for 10-15 minutes until softened, then drained before cooking. An ideal for stir fry dishes or soups.
Wide, flat cellophane noodle sheets
"Kuay Tiew Shanghai" also known as mung bean sheets, they are as transparent as glass noodles except they are different in shape and colours; green and white. Dried mung bean sheets are available in most of Asian stores. The fresh mung bean sheet is squared and is usually curled while the dried sheet is hard, clear, flat and breakable.
"Kuay Jab" is a triangle shape made from rice. It is great for Drunken Noodle dish or stir fried and soup noodle dishes. The dried rice flake requires to be soaked in water about 5 minutes before cooking.
Cooking Tip: The dried form of this kuay jab noodle requires to be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain out and add it into soup or salad dishes.
Rice noodle sheets
"Kuay Tiew Pan" are great for rice noodle wrap or roll recipes. It is made from a various mixture of rice flour and cassava starch or glutinous rice flour and water. It is usually available fresh which can be cooked straightaway. It also comes in a refrigerated package from most of Asian stores.
Cooking Tip: To prepare the rice noodle sheet from a refrigerated package, let it cools down and steam the amount sheets you want to use for 4-5 minutes and then peel off each sheet.
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