Laos food – Khao Tom | Adventure Laos

Laos food – Khao Tom

laos food khao tom

Khao tom is a Laotian steamed dessert made with sweet sticky rice, coconut and a variety of additions to taste, all wrapped up in banana leaves.

Foods of this kind abound in most of the countries in the region. The origins get murky unless there is some original documentation or historical trail to follow. Sometimes it can be the name but in most cases the names have been changed to the vernacular. Ingredients don’t prove the origin. In Thailand this food is called Khao Tom Mud (ข้าวต้มมัด) and is identical in presentation to the Lao version


  • 500 gsticky rice, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 2 cupsfreshly grated coconut mixed with a pinch of salt
  • 250 ml(1 cup) warm water
  • 200 gcaster sugar
  • 200 gcooked kidney beans
  • 12 piecesbanana leaves
  • 1sweet Asian banana, halved lengthways and diagonally sliced
  • 200 gtaro, diagonally sliced, cut into chips and boiled for 2 minutes, drained


Rinse the soaked rice, then drain. Steam for 25 minutes, or until cooked.

Place the grated coconut with salt and warm water in a bowl and combine well. Using your hands, squeeze coconut well to extract coconut cream, then strain liquid to remove any solids. You need 250 ml (1 cup) liquid for this recipe.

Place the coconut cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in the sugar and cook until dissolved, then add the kidney beans. Pour the coconut mixture over the sticky rice and mix well.

Cut each banana leaf into 21 cm pieces. To soften, steam for 5 minutes, or allow to dry in the sun until pliable.

Place 1 tbsp of the sticky rice mixture onto each banana leaf and top with a piece of sugar banana or taro. Repeat with remaining rice, banana and taro. Fold into parcels and steam, seam-side down, for 35 minutes.

laos food khao tom

Laos food – Khao Tom


• You could use 250 ml (1 cup) ready-made coconut cream instead of extracting the cream from fresh coconut, if you like.

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