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Sticky Rice In Bamboo, Khao Lham

Thai Food Sweet Dish, Sticky Rice Cooked In A Bamboo     

This is a very interesting and tasty Thai food dish. Sticky rice which is a very famous Thai preparation is mixed with sugar and coconut milk. This mixture is filled into bamboo sticks, the sticks are then baked for many hours. The name given to this Thai sweet dish is 'Khao Lham'. To eat the sticky rice that is cooked in the bamboo, you will need to split open the bamboo vertically. The vendor who sells Khao Laam will normally do it for you. It will not be easy to split the bamboo at home, so make sure that you get this task done by the vendor.

In most cases you can expect the sticky rice in bamboo Thai dish to be vegetarian. But we have come across some variations by small quantities of non vegetarian ingredients have been added to the Khao Lham. It might therefore be good to let the vendor confirm this for you. Soaked black beans are sometimes added to the rice, you can then see the cooked beans in the rice when the bamboo is split. The bamboo stick is generally around a foot to 14 inches long. The portion that actually holds the sticky rice can be around 8 to 9 inches long.


sticky rice cooked in bamboo, thai food dish
A clear image of the Khao Laarm Thai food dish. The bamboo sticks are filled with a mixture of sticky rice, black beans, sugar and ofcourse coconut milk. Banana leaves are stuffed in at the top to keep the mixture from dropping out. The bamboo along with the sticky rice mixture is baked for several hours. The whole bamboo takes a darkish burnt color, the top layer of the burnt bamboo is generally stripped off to give it a clean and neat appearance.

 You could call this dish as a dessert but there is something that you should know. A dessert is normally a small serving of a sweet food dish that is taken after meals. If you plan to eat an entire section of the bamboo with sticky rice dish, it will be quite heavy and can almost form an entire meal on it's own. You might therefore want to go easy on the main meal and take a generous helping of the Khao Laam dish. Sticky rice and coconut milk can make a hefty dish and remember that there is also added sugar as an ingredient in the Thai sticky rice in bamboo dish.

A short explanation about how the bamboo sticks appear after the cooking process is completed. If you travel upcountry, you might see the bamboos with a dark burnt out appearance. On the other hand, the same Khao Lharm bamboo sticks appear quite white and clean. Some visitors to Thailand have noticed these two colors of the bamboo sticks and wonder whether they are the same dish. The truth is that they are both Khao Laam but, the white clean bamboos are stripped off the outer burnt layer. The clean white bamboo portion is therefore exposed. You might also noticed that one end of the bamboo stick is stuffed with a folded leaf. This is generally a banana leaf that is used to close the hold in the bamboo from one side. This ensures that the mixture of sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar does not come out of the bamboo during the cooking process.


khao laam sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar mixture baked in a bamboo
When you buy your Khao Laam bamboo stick, it is best to ask the vendor to crack open the bamboo for you. The above picture shows the sticky rice pudding inside the bamboo. The black pieces that you see in this Khao Lhaam bamboo are black beans. The contents of this dish are almost always vegetarian but, you might want to confirm this with the vendor.

Very few people would try to make the Khao Lhaam sticky rice in bamboo dish at home. Procuring and cutting the bamboos to size is not easy. The idea of including this interesting Thai food dish on our website is to introduce you to a delicious Thai dish. While the larger metros in Thailand do not often offer such traditional Thai food dishes, you can find them at some food festivals. Provinces outside the main cities still have eating spots that offer the Khao Laam and similar traditional Thai food dishes.

If you are wondering about how long you can store the Khao Laam bamboo, we would suggest that you consume it within a few hours of splitting open the bamboo stick. Since this dish like many other Thai food dishes includes coconut milk, it is necessary to quickly consume the dish. Keeping the dish for long might spoil the coconut milk and give a rancid flavor to the dish.


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