Khao Khua is a very common ingredient used in many dishes from the northeastern part of Thailand. It adds a smoky, nutty flavor, a crunchy texture, and also works as a thickener or moisture-retainer.
Even though it seems like a simple ingredient, it is not something you would want to skip if listed in a recipe, as it makes a huge difference. It really enhances a dish!
But if you can’t find it, you can make it yourself in no time. All you need are three things: A frying pan, a mortar and pestle and the right kind of rice: sticky rice!
In Thai, Khao means rice and Khua means to dry roast, and that pretty much sums up how this ingredient is made:
Heat a frying pan over medium to low heat. Add the uncooked sticky rice and stir every few seconds to make sure it gets evenly toasted. Don’t be impatient and turn to high heat. Your goal is to toast it slowly to ensure the rice is toasted all the way through, and not just burned at the surface. Burned rice will result in a bitter taste. After about 10 – 15 min.’s the rice will turn golden brown, similar to the color of wheat. Remove it from the heat, and leave the rice to cool down completely. Grind it in a mortar a few tablespoons at a time, until the texture is similar to whole wheat flour. Not too coarse, not too fine. That’s it – the Khao Khua is now ready for use.
You can store toasted sticky rice in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. However, the flavor is best when freshly made. There is also a chance it might grow moldy if stored in your pantry too long. Especially if you are in a humid environment. It happened to me once, so I think it is best to make small batches.
Recipes using Khao Khua: