Hoe to make Khao Khuo for Thai Laab Recipe

How to make roasted rice powder (Khao Khua or ข้าวคั่ว) for Thai recipes

What is Roasted Rice Powder or Khao Khua (ข้าวคั่ว)?

“Khao Khua” is roasted rice powder / toasted rice powder. It is a special ingredient in many Northern and North Eastern Thai dishes, and also Laotian dishes. If you look at a map, you could see that upper part of Thailand and Laos are kinda in the same area, so it is pretty common that people from this area share and exchange culinary culture.

Roasted Rice Powder or Khao Khua (ข้าวคั่ว) in Thai Food Recipe.

In Thailand, “Khao Khua” or “ข้าวคั่ว” is an important ingredient in Laab (“ลาบ”) and Nam Jim Jaew (Thai herb dip or “น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว”) because it gives aromatic smell like when you cook something using firewood or charcoal oven, and it gives crunchy texture similar to nuts. The texture and the smell is pretty unique, I cannot think of any substitute ingredient for “Khao Khua” yet. If you really cannot find this ingredient, you may skip it, although you may feel like something is missing from the dish. Fortunately, “Khao Khua” is quite easy to make, and it needs only 1 ingredient that you can find around the world, rice.

How to make Roasted Rice Powder or Khao Khua (ข้าวคั่ว)?

Traditionally “Khao Khua” is made from long grain sticky rice which is the most popular food and the main source of carbohydrate for people from upper part of Thailand and Laos. Sticky rice has a very important role in their culture, like bread in Western culture. However, you can substitute with other kinds of rice. I tried using Japanese short grain rice which is quite glutinous and Thai jasmine rice, they work very well.

Roasted rice powder or Khao Khuo in Thai food, and how to pronounce Thai language
Khao Khuo in Thai food, how to pronounce Thai language

Roasted Rice Powder Ingredient:

Rice 0.5 cup

(Yes, only that. I did not miss something.)

Khao Khua Recipe:

1. Warm up your pan/wok.

2. Roast (or toast) some rice in a hot pan/wok.

3. Keep stirring the rice so it is cooked evenly.

4. When the rice becomes brown and fragrant, or smells like when you cook something using firewood or charcoal oven, that means it is ready.

5. Put the roasted rice into a mortar and crush it. Crush until the grain look slightly smaller than sesame. Please try not to crush it too much, because if the grain is very fine like flour, it would give less crunchy texture.

6. If you don’t have a mortar, you can use a spice grinder as well.

**Thai Language Nerd Corner: “Khao Khua or Khao Kuo”**

How to write/read/pronounce this word? If you’ve ever founded that Thai transliteration spelling is so confusing. You are not ALONE!! Transliteration’s also confusing for Thai people too. We can discuss about this in depth later. Anyway today I prepare all information to crack “How to read Thai words?” and “How to pronounce Thai dish names properly?” for you already, as follows:

Thai language: ข้าวคั่ว

Phonetics: /kʰaːw˥˩.kʰua̯˥˩/

Transliteration (Thai Royin National Standard): khao-khua

Another Transliteration (Paiboon publishing): kâao-kûua

All literate Thai people understand “ข้าวคั่ว” from the first line (Thai language). Then you can use the phonetics as reference for the most accurate pronunciation. However, there are too many versions of transliteration, because the central standard from government authorities is not so popular. And it’s not popular because most Thai people do not know how to apply that standard system accurately. Therefore, many people create their “own system”. As a result, no wonder why there are so many versions of transliteration. Please feel free to email me to discuss about this “fun and interesting” part of learning Thai language.

The name “Khao Khua” is a common name both in Thai and Laotian language. (Thai language and Laotian language are pretty similar, like Italian and Spanish.) This word literally means roasted rice: “Khao” means rice, and “Khua” is a cooking method that cook some food in a pan/wok without oil.

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