Washing the rice is an imperative step. Place rice in a large bowl with enough water to cover very generously. Agitate with your fingers swirling the rice around and watch the water go cloudy.
After about 30 seconds, drain the cloudy water slowly out of the bowl by gradually and slowly tilting it on edge so the water drains without the rice falling out.
Repeat the washing process another three times using fresh water each time, stirring the rice around to wash it and draining out until the water is reasonably clear.
Soaking the Sticky Rice
Place the washed sticky rice in a bowl and cover with water - enough to cover plus 1 inch.
Leave to soak for 2 hours or 4-5 hours if using old crop glutinous rice. If you use unpolished rice such as black rice then do not soak for too long. Most rice bought in stores is new crop rice.
Steaming the Sticky Rice
Put several pints of water in the steaming container to bring it to about 1/3rd to 2/5ths full. Water must not touch the underside of the bamboo steamer basket so be careful not to overfill. If the water touches the rice in the bottom of the basket then you will have a sticky ball of rice! Boil the water.
Drain the water from the rice that has soaked and give it a quick rinse under running water - a sieve is handy for this step. Shake off the majority of the water from the rice.
Use a damp cloth to wipe out the inside of the bamboo steamer. Tip in the rice and jiggle the bamboo steaming basket until the rice is fairly level in the bottom. Put the steaming basket on the pot of boiling water so it sits in the top and cover with a lid.
Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Flipping the Rice
When the timer rings, remove the lid covering the rice and grab the ears of the bamboo basket, taking care as it will be a little hot.
Bang the basket gently or push down to loosen the rice in the bottom of the basket.
Flip the rice by shaking the basket as you tilt it a little to flip the rice over so the top of the rice is now at the bottom and vice versa. Jiggle the basket to resit the rice in the bottom of the basket again.
Check there is still enough water in the steaming pot for another 5 minutes of steaming and top up with hot water if necessary. Replace the bamboo steaming basket in the pot and cover with the lid again. Steam for a further 5 minutes - set your timer as you do not want to overcook the rice.
Finish & Serve
When the timer signals the 5 minutes is up, remove the cover from the sticky rice. Taste test a few grains using a fork to pull them off, cool a little by blowing and check the rice is a little sticky and has a little bite when you eat it.
Tip out the rice and spread it out to let the steam escape and to fluff up the rice a little. Then gather together into a bowl or bamboo rice baskets to serve.
If this is the first time you have used the steaming basket then you should wipe with a cloth dampened with clean soapy water and steam with nothing in it to clean and initialise the steaming basket for use