A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.



Khao ya koo

Posted date:  February 8, 2009
7 Comments


Making khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

Khao ya koo is the Shan/Thai Yai name for a type of sweetened sticky rice. Other than simply being a sweet snack, the dish has strong associations with celebration, as it’s only made on certain holidays. It also has ties with community, and as you’ll see, is one distinctly local method of making merit (kwaa loo in the local dialect).

The process begins by steaming lots of recently-harvested sticky rice:

Making khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

At the same time, blocks of raw sugarcane sugar are melted with coconut cream:

Melting raw sugarcane sugar for khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

When throughly blended, the sugarcane mixture is added to the still-warm sticky rice:

Making khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

The rice/sugar mixture is then stirred with large wooden paddles (also shown at the top of this post):

Making khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

I only saw men doing this, and the process took as long as a half hour, giving the rice a creamy, almost oily texture. Towards the end of the stirring process (called kuan in Thai) crushed peanuts are added:

Adding peanuts to khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

The rice is then allowed to cool slightly, and is divided into plastic bags or banana leaf packages:

Packing khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

And it is at this point that the merit part takes place. The bags of khao ya koo are then loaded onto trucks:

Getting ready to distribute khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, on the streets of Mae Hong Son

and the villagers drive through the various districts of Mae Hong Son, handing packets of the rice out to everybody they see:

Distributing khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, on the streets of Mae Hong Son

Distributing khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, on the streets of Mae Hong Son

In recent years this has been accompanied by a parade:

A parade in front of Wat Jong Kham to celebrate making khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, Mae Hong Son

But the most important thing is still giving (and getting) that rice:

Distributing khao ya koo, sweet sticky rice, on the streets of Mae Hong Son


7 Comments for Khao ya koo


How interesting, this is very reminiscent of the Burmese tradition of making “htamaneh,” which is fried sticky rice with coconut shavings, peanuts, sesame and ginger (in peanut oil) and made only during the Tabodwe full moon festival (around this time of the year). It is made similarly to how khao ya khoo is made, except htamaneh is not very sweet, but it is quite oily. I attached a link showing how htamaneh is made:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a4/Making_htamanè.JPG

Aung Kyaw: Actually some people here make exactly the dish you describe, although it seems less common, and they described it as ‘Burmese’. I tasted it and it wasn’t sweet at all, but actually oily, slightly salty and spicy (from the ginger).

Yes, htamane is more of a savoury dish but it’s fascinating to see the similarities nonetheless.

Here’s a video of htamane being made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq8FcG9AsuM

Sawasdee Kha Khun Austin 🙂

First of all, I’ve to apologize because my English’s pretty bad.
But I’ll try to talk in English, although you can read Thai. 😛

My name’s Pichanan, 22 years old. (But you can call me Amp) Last night I had a chance to watch “Art De Siam” on Thailand Outlook channel. I’ve seen your works and I’m interested in your works, because I like photography too. 😀 But I never studied photography in school. I’ve been trying to teach myself photography from books and the internet. Anyway, I’m not serious about it, no need to be the professional because I just want to take some beautiful photos when I’ve a trip! 🙂

By the way, I think your works seemed alive! How could you do that? It’s so interesting and full of charming actually. (I can use the word of “charming” with things, right?) So something like that! 😛 You know I love “Life on Street” photography style, especially “Thai street’s lifestyle” and your works are awesome!

Anyway I’ve some question to ask you. Are you fascinated with Thai Foods, right? Why Thai Food? 😀

I wanna see your works more and more. How can I fınd it? Do you have another website? Please let me know if you have.

Thank You 🙂
Amp

and i love your blog too!!!!!!

i want to go there and try all the food.

aMpz*: Thanks for the compliments and for watching the programme–I’ve yet to watch it myself! I only have this website, but you can see some of my pics at http://www.lpi.com. To answer your question, when I moved here I found the food fascinating because it’s so different than the food I grew up with. And even though I’ve been here a while now, there’s still lots to discover. Thanks for stopping by!
oux: Thanks for reading! In an obscure kinda way, Mae Hong Son is a good culinary destination.

[…] stay in Mae Hong Son coincided yet again with khao ya koo, a Shan celebration in which caravans of partying locals hand out packets of sweetened sticky rice […]



Wanna say something?









 

*