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Toasted Rice Powder
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5 from 2 votes

Thai Toasted Rice Powder (Khao Khua)

Toasted Rice Powder (Khao Khua) is an essential ingredient in Thai Minced Chicken or Pork Salad (laab / larb) and is used to thicken dipping sauces like jaew. Here’s how to make this smoky, nutty, ground rice powder at home in about 15 minutes.
This makes about ½ cup of toasted rice powder. Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.
Makes 1/2 cup.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time16 mins
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: rice, Thai ingredient, thai salad
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $1.50


  • Wok
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Coffee/Spice Grinder


  • 2/3 cup Uncooked Thai Sticky Rice (see note)
  • 1 Kaffire Lime Leaf (optional, see note)


  • Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. As the pan is heating, add rice and kaffir lime leaf and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice becomes dark golden brown, about 10 minutes. (Note: The rice will smoke quite a bit as it cooks and will smell very fragrant, almost burned. As long as none of the grains show signs of burning / turning black in spots), keep going until all of the grains are an even, deep golden brown color. If any rice grains do start to burn, be sure to reduce the heat.)
  • Take the wok / skillet off the heat and continue stirring until the pan cools down a bit.
  • Let the rice sit in the pan until completely cool.
  • Transfer the rice and kaffir lime leaf to a coffee / spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind until it forms a smooth, even powder that still has some texture. (The grains within the powder should be slightly uneven which gives the powder a perfect texture for laab.)
  • Store toasted rice powder in a sealed jar at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.


Sticky rice (also sometimes labeled as glutinous or sweet rice) is traditionally used made to make Toasted Rice Powder in Northeastern Thailand. If you don’t have sticky rice, you can use Thai jasmine rice for a very similar result. Be sure to use dry, uncooked rice so that it will toast properly.
Kaffir lime leaves can be found at Asian / international grocery stores and sometimes at specialty stores (we’ve found them at Whole Foods labeled “lime leaves”). This gives a uniquely Thai flavor to the toasted rice powder, but the recipe works just fine without it.