I have a taste for plain white rice, whether it’d be short-grain white rice (sushi grade) or Jasmine rice (long-grained). Short-grained white rice is the type of rice that many Hmong people, as well as Southeast Asians, eat. For a healthier option, Hmong people have transitioned to eating more Jasmine rice.
Hmong people have a history of farming and harvesting white rice in Laos before arriving to the U.S. as refugees. My great grandparents, grandparents, and parents, now myself and my children love and eat white rice. It’s such a crucial staple in every Hmong kitchen as it’s eaten with all meals of the day. Our preference of rice is so ingrained in us that my dad would always reference meals at restaurants would taste better if it had rice to go along with it.
White rice is eaten plain as a side dish to many Asian meals. Sometimes even as a main dish when cooked as fried rice. Short-grained white rice was cooked the traditional way with the use of a steamer pot and bamboo basket, either to steam regular rice or make sticky rice.
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Rice used to be steamed in a steamer pot and bamboo basket for steaming rice or making sticky rice (only with short-grained white rice). I have never made rice the traditional way but often would call and ask my mom how she made it. It’s still on my to do list to learn the traditional way of making rice.
When I was younger, I would remember my grandma storing sticky rice in these small bamboo baskets. I found myself recently at a local asian grocery store looking for these bamboo baskets for nostalgia but I just couldn’t find one that was made with quality and that resembled the one my late grandmother had. The closest one I was able to find on Amazon is the following.
Little by little, the traditional way of making rice came to an abrupt end as electronic rice cookers came on the rise. The only time I ever saw rice made the traditional way now is either at Hmong catering services or restaurants when making large batches that just can’t compete with the small home electronic rice cookers.
I’ve had my fair share of using a variety of rice cookers and they have come a long way. Growing up, my family, as well as other Hmong families, used something similar to a Tiger JNP-1000-FL 5.5-Cup.
Currently, I use a rice cooker model that it is no longer being made but is a version similar to the model of Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer.
Although I don’t eat as much rice as I used to anymore, I would crave for a nostalgic meal every now and with a side of plain white rice. The following are several recipes that includes the ingredient of white rice or meals that would go great with a side of white rice.
- Rice Porridge (Congee)
- Fried Rice
- Spicy Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll with Cauliflower Rice
- Quick and Easy Crockpot Chicken
- Pork Belly Stir Fry
- Garden Eggs
- Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings
- Hmong Egg Rolls