Thai Toasted-Rice Powder (Khao Khua) Recipe

Thai Toasted-Rice Powder (Khao Khua) Recipe

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Toasted-rice powder is a common pantry ingredient in Northern Thai and Lao cuisines, made by slowly toasting raw sticky rice to a deep golden brown, then grinding it into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. It lends a textural element and nutty flavor to dishes like larb, and is also used as a thickening agent in soups and dipping sauces, like jaew.

Making it at home is a breeze, though it does take some patience: This recipe calls for an extra-long toasting process in order to evenly cook the grains of glutinous rice and bring out all of their roasty, popcorn-like aroma.

Why It Works

  • Slowly toasting dry sticky rice ensures that the grains cook and color evenly.
  • Toasting the grains to a much deeper golden brown than called for in most other recipes produces a toasted-rice powder with a deep nutty flavor and a popcorn-like aroma.
  • Yield:Makes 1/2 cup (100g)
  • Active time: 5 minutes
  • Total time:35 minutes


  • 1/2 cup Thai sticky rice (3 1/2 ounces; 100g); see note


  1. 1.

    Place rice in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet and shake pan to distribute grains into an even layer. Cook over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently to redistribute rice into an even layer, until rice is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. If rice begins to scorch, lower heat to medium-low.

  2. 2.

    Continue to cook, shaking skillet frequently, until rice is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove from heat, transfer rice to a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool to room temperature, 5 to 8 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Transfer toasted rice to a spice grinder or the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind to a coarse powder with a texture similar to that of ground coffee used for pourover brewing. Allow rice powder to cool to room temperature, then store in a dry, airtight container.