Om is an inquisitive foodie who likes to share recipes that everyone can enjoy.
This article is a humble tribute to both of my grandmothers: the late Grandma Prasop who loved to eat khao tom mud so dearly, and Grandma Paan who's still alive and enjoys making this delightful Thai dessert at special family gatherings.
In a nutshell, khao tom mud is a sticky rice dessert, stuffed with banana and wrapped in banana leaf. It requires only four ingredients and involves four basic steps: soaking the rice, cooking the rice with coconut milk and sugar, stuffing and wrapping, and finally steaming.
Grandma Paan used to sell khao tom mud back when she had a little restaurant. She has made it so many times that she could probably make it with her eyes closed. As a youngster, I would offer her a helping hand whenever I gave her a visit. Although I was more like an inept enthusiast than a useful assistant, she let me be a part of it anyway while she remained in charge of most of the cooking. The only responsibility she trusted me with was sticky rice wrapping, which I actually found to be a super amusing thing to do.
Anyway, now living thousands of miles away from home, I have to make khao tom mud myself from start to finish. I'm still not an expert in the art of khao tom mud like Grandma Paan, but hey, my version of this Thai dessert is pretty yummy. I hope you give it a try sometime!
Ingredients (for About 4 Pieces of Khao Tom Mud)
- 1 cup uncooked glutinous rice
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 baby bananas, peeled
- a pinch of salt
Baby bananas are a mini banana variety. In Thai, we call them "kluay kai," which literally means "egg bananas." You can find them at most Asian grocery stores.
If they are nowhere to be found in your neighborhood, however, use a medium-sized regular banana instead. First halve it lengthwise, then halve each slice crosswise.
Other Things You Will Need
- 1 whole banana leaf
- 8 rubber bands or thin pieces of rope
Banana leaves can be found in most Asian supermarkets, in the frozen food section. If you can't find them, aluminum foil is a good alternative.
- Soak sticky rice in water overnight for at least for 3 hours. This will help quicken the cooking process, as it causes the rice to get tender faster. Each brand of glutinous rice is different. Some may require a longer soaking time than the others. From my experience, 3 hours should be good enough for most brands.
- Heat one cup of coconut milk in a saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Drain the rice and add it to the coconut milk. Turn the heat down to low and stir constantly. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add the rest of the coconut milk, sugar and salt, then continue to stir the mixture together.
- Keep stirring until the rice gets slightly more tender and absorbs all the coconut milk. The best way to check if the rice is ready is to taste it. It should still be a bit hard, not completely cooked. This whole process usually takes around 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the coconut rice mixture from the stove. Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes.
How to Wrap It
- Clean the banana leaf by wiping it with a damp towel. Remove the middle rib, then cut it into 8 pieces ( about 6" x 8" each).
- Layer two pieces of prepared banana leaf together. You may use only one layer if you prefer. I always use two layers, because banana leaf can easily break and may cause some of the coconut sticky rice to leak out of the pouch during the steaming process.
- Put about 3 tablespoons of coconut sticky rice onto the banana leaf. Put a baby banana on the rice, then top it with another 3 tablespoons of the rice mixture.
- The wrapping is very simple. Just fold both sides to the center, one overlapping the other. Then fold the top and bottom ends to the center. Secure your banana leaf pouch with two rubber bands. Traditionally, khao tom mud would be tied with thin pieces of rope, but as a lazy chef, I find rubber bands to be a wonderful alternative!
- Repeat the process with the rest of the sticky rice mixture.
- Arrange the khao tom mud pouches in a hot steamer. Any type of steamer is fine. My grandma loves to steam her khao tom mud in a bamboo steamer, but I always steam mine in a rice cooker. The size of the steamer also doesn't matter. As long as you can fit all the pouches into it and close the lid completely, it will work.
- Steam for about 30-45 minutes. When they're ready, the pouches should slightly puff up and become firmer. You can check the doneness by pressing the pouches with your finger. Be very careful, though; they are hot! Also, watch out for the hot steam when you first open the lid. If you're not sure when to take the pouches out, just steam them for an hour. It's better to overcook than undercook them. Plus, khao tom mud doesn't usually get overcooked that easily. If you cook it a little too long, it'll just be slightly dry. If you don't cook it long enough, however, it will fall apart and not work out at all.
- Take your khao tom mud out of the steamer and set aside for about 10 minutes. Remove the banana leaf wrap right before serving.
Om Paramapoonya (author) on August 31, 2012:
@HouseBuyersUS - You're welcome. Hope you give this Thai sticky rice dessert a try soon.
Om Paramapoonya (author) on August 21, 2012:
@leahlefler - Lucky you! Now after hearing about various versions of this sticky rice dessert, I want to try them all!
Leah Lefler from Western New York on August 21, 2012:
I've only had the Philippine version, and it was so yummy! It was very similar to the Thai version - my coworkers used to bring it in as an occasional treat for everyone. I loved potluck day when we lived in Southern California - so much delicious food!
Om Paramapoonya (author) on August 12, 2012:
@greatstuff - Ah, interesting. We have another sticky rice dessert with grated coconut in Thailand, too. It's not cooked with sugar, but sugar is normally sprinkled on top right before serving. The other day, a guy on Instagram also told me he had tried an Indonesian version of khao tom mud. I guess this type of dessert is just so popular in all Southeast Asian countries. Hard to tell which one is the original. lol
Mazlan from Malaysia on August 11, 2012:
Om, we have this as well and another version is using rice flour. Besides banana, we also use grated coconut that is cooked together with brown sugar. I'm not sure how they cook them as our version isn't tied with any string or rubber band, just folded together.
Om Paramapoonya (author) on August 11, 2012:
@Mhatter - Interesting. I've never tried the Philippine version. Probably pretty similar.
@Dr Pooja - Nice! Hope you had a great time in Chiangmai.
Dr Pooja on August 11, 2012:
Just back from Chiangmai .in love with Thai food.would try your recipe too as I try others I enjoyed during my stay.
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 10, 2012:
Thank you for this. I'e had the Philippine versions of this.
Om Paramapoonya (author) on August 10, 2012:
@Jackie Lynnley - Thanks so much, Jackie.
@emimemo - I think I have tried the Japanese dessert you're talking about. It was yummy! I would like to learn more about Japanese cooking, too.
@Cardisa - Awesome! Let me know how it turns out.
@AliciaC - You like the name "khao tom mud"? Haha. I do, too. Thanks for dropping by.
@Goodlady - I'd say my food is slightly better than my pictures. hehehe If you can't find banana leaves, just use aluminum foil. It won't look as cute as green banana leaf, but it will definitely work.
Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on August 10, 2012:
It's a gorgeous recipe. And a lovely looking Hub (as always...which is better, your food, or your layout and pictures?) Too bad we can't get that lovely banana leaf here in Tuscany!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 2012:
This dessert sounds very tasty, and I love its name! Thank you for the clear and detailed instructions and the useful photos.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on August 10, 2012:
I have had sticky rice and mangoes and will definitely try this. I love Asian food so will have no problem taking the time to make this. We also have lots of these bananas around so will have no problems finding the right ingredients and stuff.
emimemo from USA on August 09, 2012:
It looks delicious. We have a dessert looks like this in Japan, but sweet rice and sweet beans inside of bamboo leafs. I would like to know more about Thai recipes. Thank you for sharing.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 09, 2012:
Wow does that look delicious! Very attractive and well done all the way down!