Rice - Thai Long Grain
Rice or 'kow' is the main stable in Thailand and my other Asian countries. There are so many varieties of rice that never made it to the US market. The most well known variety is Jasmine rice, a long-grain, flowery smelling rice.
When you go out to restaurants, the quality of the restaurant is normally reflected in the rice that they choose. Jasmine rice from Thailand seems to have a different texture and taste from rice I've had from California. In general, Thai Jasmine rice is softer, creamier, smells much better and not as starchy tasting.
Good rice also keeps its form and stays soft, even when it is cold or reheated. Rice is sorted and the highest quality have consistently long and unbroken grains.
Selecting good rice here in the US is difficult because you can't tell the quality of the rice until you have opened the bag and you can't open the bag until you've purchased it. For Jasmine rice, good rice is new rice and the rice that will have the fastest turnover are the 25 or 50 lb bags that you see in high-volume Asian markets.
For most other kinds of rice, it is better to have aged rice, since it improves with time. When cooking "new crop" rice (rice that was recently harvested), discount the amount of water you add by 10% because new rice still has some of its moisture from when it was growing. Detailed information on cooking rice is below:
kow hom mali ข้าวหอมมะลิ
There are many varieties of rice that are available in Thailand. However, in the US, jasmine rice seems to be the only variety that is exported here. Fortunately, jasmine rice tastes great and is one of the most popular varieties. When cooked, jasmine rice gives out jasmine fragrance. Having a good rice to go along with your Thai dishes is so important. Good rice can help bring out the flavors of your dishes. I highly recommend jasmine rice for Thai food. Choose new crop of rice because it retains more of the jasmine fragrance than older crops.
Kow Neow ข้าวเหนียว
'Kow' means rice and 'neow' means sticky. Sticky rice is a staple in Northern and Northeastern Thailand where people eat it instead of long grain rice. Sticky rice is eaten with hands.
Sticky rice is traditionally soaked overnight and steamed, not boiled. When long grain rice is cooked, it turns from opaque to white; when sticky rice is cooked, it turns from white to translucent.
I often use leftover sticky rice to make sticky rice pudding. Left over sticky rice can also be heated and let soak in coconut milk and topped with fruit, such as mango, for a dessert.
black sticky rice
kow neow dum
Black sticky rice is traditionally cooked as snacks and desserts, never main course. The grains are long and plump. The colors on the grain are ranging from black, purple to brown with some white. When the rice is cooked, it looks more purple than black. And the grains stick to one another unlike jasmine or other long grain rice.