Khao Neo Bing – Grilled Sticky Rice
Khao Neo Bing, or grilled sticky rice, is probably one of my favorite street foods. It sits well on any stomach, it’s filling and substantial, it’s super delicious, it’s versatile, and it’s easy to eat while you’re on the go. Fillings can range from black beans or bananas to dried shrimp, and seems just as suitable a snack morning, noon or night. So, here’s how you make this stuff:
You have two options. First, using the technique you already know from the newsletter, steam the rice to the point where it is translucent but not quite cooked through, then soak it in sweetened coconut milk before grilling. Second you can start with boiling in sweetened coconut milk, and par-cook the rice before grilling (allowing it to cook through and dry out a bit on the grill).
You’ll also need banana leaves. But these are not too hard to find in the freezers and coolers of Asian markets around the world. They usually come folded up in a squareish plastic wrap that’s a bit bigger than a paper notebook.
Ratios for coconut milk mixture:
1 ½ cups sticky rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup raw or brown sugar
a pinch of salt
We’ll limit ourselves to the former method mentioned, steaming then soaking. After you have par-steamed the rice, heat the coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan but don’t let it boil. Then combine half of the coconut milk mixture with the rice and allow to sit until cooled to room temperature or for an hour or two.
We’ll also assume you’re using bananas, the cute little guys. All you have to do now is slice your bananas into thin and narrow strips, place the sticky rice on the banana leaf, place the banana in the sticky rice, roll the banana up in the middle of the rice and the rice in the leaves, then drive toothpicks through the ends of the leaf to hold it together.
Grill these guys over a low fire until the leaf is a evenly browned and a bit charred around the edges. Taste, then write in and tell me that isn’t the breakfast of champions.