Thursday, September 2, 2010

Khao Tom Mad

These are a sweet version of Khao Tom Mad, with taro root and small banana. Sometimes they also have black beans in them. Savory ones have minced pork and the rice isn't sweet. The rice is tender, sweet with a hint of coconut and the banana leaves give off this amazing fragrance. The taro and banana compliment the sweet tropical flavors of the coconut rice.
You need a steamer basket, banana leaves and sweet or glutinous rice for this dish. If you can't find banana leaves you can use tin foil. But the banana leaves are fragrant and give a lot of flavor. I put vanilla in my Khao Tom Van- not really traditional but I like it. I also used brown sugar instead of white, I used the lower end of the amount I am posting because in general I use less sugar in most things. If you use white sugar the end result will be a more white rice after steaming.
We didn't use quite enough  coconut milk so I upped it in the recipe to ensure you get the smooth, tender,  sticky rice that is characteristic of Khao Tom Mad.

When you pull out your banana leaves they will be wider on one end. Instead of cutting it onto the same size pieces you want to cut  the leaves in ovals according to how wide the leaf is at that point. So you'll have wider ovals and they will gradually get smaller as you go, but you won't waste as much of the leaf this way. I bought frozen banana leaves, so I washed them in warm water after the ovals were cut to get them a little more pliable. Even if you have fresh leaves, you'll need to wash them or wipe with a damp cloth.
My mom is in town and while we were making these she was telling me about using banana leaves to serve food on in Laos, especially in markets. No wasteful paper plates. That of course is probably changing. Which is unfortunate. The fragrance of the leaves compliments foods I think. Not that I've been to Laos, but I've eaten off paper plates and banana leaves and I prefer the leaves.
I can't tell you how many of these we made at least 40. I know I'm not help, because it also depends on how big you make them.

Khao Tom Mud

8 cups glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight or for at least 3 hours
Small bananas (regular bananas can be used but the smaller ones hold up better as far as texture and taste different)
Taro root- steamed until a knife easily pierces through it
2 (approx 15 ounce) cans coconut milk (not juice or cream)
3/4 - 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (again not traditional but I prefer brown sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1 pkg of banana leaves thawed
(If you want to use black beans you can also, make sure they are fully cooked- canned is fine.)
 The water should run fairly clear after you've rinsed your rice. 
Drain the rice and rinse it well. 

The coconut milk sweetened with brown sugar and rice makes a flavorful filling.

In a large pot heat the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat until the sugar is dissolved over medium low heat.


Heat the rice with the coconut milk until most of the liquid is absorbed. 
Add the rice to the pot. On medium low to low heat cook stirring the rice until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. A good 30 minutes or more.Have patience and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed! You'll be rewarded with tender sticky rice.
Small bananas, also known as mini or baby bananas.
Peel and slice the bananas and the Taro.

Dusty banana leaves! Rinse and clean them well!


The ovals don't have to be perfect, but about the same size.
Cut the banana leaves into oval shapes with kitchen shears and wash them. I used warm water and changed the water out several times.

Start adding the filling for the Khao Tom Mud.
 To assemble each packet put about two tablespoons of rice in the middle of the banana leaf oval. Top with a slice of banana and taro. Top that with more rice. If you are using black beans sprinkle some on top. (Depending on what size oval you're using you may need less rice.)

Once the Khao Tom Mud steams the banana leaves will be so fragrant.
To wrap these take the two long sides and bring them to the middle. Put them together and fold the long sides down together a couple of times to seal the long end. 


Make sure the bundles are fairly tight, no loose ends and bundles.
Then fold in the two smaller sides.

Place these seam side down in the steamer.
Steam the packets with the seam side down for 30-45 minutes. I use a metal stacked steamer with a tight fitting lid.


All done. I let these cool. Wrapped them two by two in plastic wrap and put them in a zip top bag, then froze them. To reheat I remove the plastic and steam them. You can remove the plastic and cover with a wet paper towel and use a microwave also.



Khao Tom Mud

8 cups glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight or for at least 3 hours
Small bananas (regular bananas can be used but the smaller ones hold up better as far as texture and taste different)
Taro root- steamed until a knife easily pierces through it
2 (approx 15 ounce) cans coconut milk (not juice or cream)
3/4 - 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (again not traditional but I prefer brown sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1 pkg of banana leaves thawed
(If you want to use black beans you can also, make sure they are fully cooked- canned is fine.)


  1. Rinse and drain the rice.
  2. In a large pot heat the coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat until the sugar is dissolved over medium low heat.
  3. Add the rice to the pot. On medium low to low heat cook stirring the rice until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. A good 30 minutes or more. Have patience and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed! You'll be rewarded with tender sticky rice.
  4. Peel and slice the bananas, into quarters (split, then halved).
  5. The taro needs to be peeled and sliced, into pieces about the same size as the bananas.
  6. Cut the banana leaves as pictured into oval shapes with kitchen shears and wash them. I used warm water and changed the water out several times.
  7.  To assemble each packet put about two tablespoons of rice in the middle of the banana leaf oval. 
  8. Top with a slice of banana and taro. Top that with more rice. If you are using black beans sprinkle some on top. (Depending on what size oval you're using you may need less rice.)
  9. To wrap these take the two long sides and bring them to the middle. Put them together and fold the long sides down together a couple of times to seal the long end. 
  10. Then fold in the two smaller sides.
  11. Steam the packets with the seam side down for 30-45 minutes. I use a metal stacked steamer with a tight fitting lid.
  12. All done. I let these cool. Wrapped them two by two in plastic wrap and put them in a zip top bag, then froze them. To reheat I remove the plastic and steam them. You can remove the plastic and cover with a wet paper towel and use a microwave also.
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