Thai Sticky Rice Steeped in Coconut Milk, 'Khao Neeo Moon'

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Khao neeo moon is a truly authentic Thai recipe. Mixing sweet dessert rice with a sugary seafood topping might seem like a bizarre combination that Food Network might sensationalize on one of their celebrity shows. Yet this is a favorite of Thailand found throughout the country, made interesting by a variety of toppings. Here we demonstrate how to make the rice, and two of the more common toppings.

We prepared the rice in three colors. White, black (using black rice), and yellow (white rice colored with turmeric). In Thai tradition, the shrimp topping should go on the yellow rice.

Ingredients for coconut milk for topping

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 tablespoon sugar


In small sauce pan mix all ingredients well, and heat stirring to prevent lumps. When coconut milk boils, remove from heat. Set aside to be used when serving.

Ingredients for khao neeo moon

2 1/2 cups white sticky rice
1/2 cup black sticky rice
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 teaspoons salt
3/4 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups coconut milk


In three small mixing bowls: in the first bowl add 1 cup of white sticky rice. In the second bowl add 1 cup of white sticky rice with turmeric powder. In the third bowl add half cup of white sticky rice mix with half cup of black sticky rice. Add water to cover the rice about 2 inches above the rice in each bowl, stir well in each bowl. Let soak over night (to speed up this step, soak each bowl in hot water at least 3 hours). Then rinse each bowl under water and let each drain on colander.

Prepare a stacked steamer by filling 3/4 level of water into the bottom of stack steamer then turn the heat on high let the water come up to a rolling boil. In each layer of the steamer lay a cheesecloth down on the bottom then add each color of sticky rice separately. Put lid on, and let steam over heavy boiling water for 25 minutes (steam each color separately).

While the rice is cooking, dissolve salt and sugar in the coconut milk, and heat, stirring to prevent lumps. When coconut milk boils, remove from heat. Place each color of hot cooked sticky rice in it's own pot with tightly-fitting lid, and pour in one cup of hot (important) coconut milk mixture into each pot. Stir throughly, and cover, and set aside for about 1 hour to allow coconut milk to mingle with the rice thoroughly.

When serving, spoon some of the coconut milk set aside earlier over the rice before adding toppings (see below).

Ingredients for shrimp topping

1 1/4 cups fresh shrimp (about 15 medium size shrimps)
1 cup grated coconut
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon Thai pepper powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
Orange food coloring (mixture of 10 drops yellow plus 2 drops red)
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh kaffir lime leaves


Chop shrimp and coconut together and add a little orange food coloring. Pound shallot, pepper and coriander powder in a mortar and pestle until ground and mixed thoroughly, and fry in the oil until fragrant, then add shrimp and coconut and fry until done, seasoning to taste with salt and sugar. Remove from pan and sprinkle with sliced kaffir lime leaves.

Ingredients for custard topping

1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups palm sugar
3 eggs
1 drop of pandan screwpine paste (optional)


In a blender, mix coconut milk, palm sugar, pandan and eggs until mixed well. Pour into heat proof container such as a ceramic bowl. Place inside stacked steamer over vigorously boiling water for 25-30 minutes.

Serving: As shown below, add coconut milk topping over the white and black rice as you prefer. Add shrimp topping to yellow sweet rice. Custard topping over white and black sweet rice. It's very delicious, savory, exotic and sweet.

Please also see two of our other sticky rice dessert recipes: black sticky rice with sweet coconut milk, and sticky rice with mango.

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February 27th, 2013
6:57 AM
very nice
November 18th, 2014
11:05 PM
Can't I just cook black sticky rice in an electric rice cooker?
If I do this, what is the ratio?

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