Technique for steaming rice
I want to try a recipe for sticky rice with mangoes. The recipe calls for steaming the rice which is something I have never done. I don't have a steamer. It does say you can use a stockpot or dutch oven but doesn't give you any more info. I'm thinking a metal colander maybe over the pan and cover with foil, or would it need a tight fitting lid? Will the rice not fall through the holes? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated
I use a fine mesh strainer over a saucepan but I don't cook for a crowd. The lid fits close but not tight. If you went the colander route, you could line it with cheesecloth to prevent the rice from falling through the holes (some of the rice would probably stick to the cloth, so take that into account when measuring).
Try something similar to cheesecloth. In Japan you can find a thick cloth that has holes in it, specifically for steaming mochigome (sticky rice). If you live near a Japanese market you should be able to find it.
The following link is in Japanese, but you should be able to see the photos of what the cloth looks like when it is used for steaming. (musu is the verb in Japanese to steam)
I'd go with a metal strainer. Or use your collander and line it with cheesecloth or even a clean dishtowel. It's pretty close to the traditional way of wrapping the rice in cheesecloth and steaming it in a thai steamer.
Cheesecloth doesn't work for sticky rice. The grains in contact with the cloth stick to it and become mushy while the rest of the rice doesn't cook. The traditional Thai steamer is a bamboo cone which fits over a metal base. The more modern version is a bamboo pan which you suspend over a pot of boiling water. It looks like a Chinese steamer in miniature. My Thai friend uses a metal steamer in a pot of water but I've been told the rice gets mushy if you don't watch it carefully.
I've tried all of these and find them a PITA. I ended up microwaving it just as I do all my rice. It still has to be soaked for several hours before cooking. I rinse the rise briefly, add the water I will use for cooking and let it soak, usually overnight. Then it goes into the microwave. For about a cup of rice it takes about 10 minutes.
However you decide to steam the sticky rice, you must wash the rice and soak the rice overnight. Disgard any left-over water, this will help the steaming process a lot faster.