Northern Thai Bloody Rice Parcels : Khao Kan Jeen (ข้าวกั๊นจิ๊น)

Hello, my fellow eccentric eaters. ❤ This time around, we (awkwardly) attempt to seduce your lovely eyes with a northern Thai specialty, Khao kan jeen (ข้าวกั๊นจิ๊น). This is a fairly humble looking dish, we must admit, but don’t let that fool you. Like most S.E. Asian food, it’s incredibly fragrant and has a lot of flavor to offer your eager mouths..

What it be? Well, it’s much like a rice dumpling or tamale in spirit. Blood, rice, meat, and aromatics wrapped in a pretty little package. This dish (is a tease) tends to be eaten as a type of appetizer or accompaniment to the main event. Like most blood food, it’s quite location oriented, sadly, and not often found outside of Northern Thailand. It can be made at home with minimal effort, however, so why not have a little adventure? And, and..honestly, who doesn’t love steamy, adorable bloody rice presents?!

Recipe makes 12 parcels

  • ½ pound ground pork with some fat in it
  • 1 cup pig’s blood
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp soy
  • 1 Tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
  • 100g shallot, minced
  • 50g garlic, minced
  • 50g ginger, minced
  • 25g fresh lemongrass, tender, pale parts only, minced
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bruised until frayed
  • 1 cup Thai basil, chiffonade
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 12 sheets of banana leaves
  • toothpicks


  1. Cook the rice and spread it out on parchment paper to cool. Folding and turning the rice frequently with a wooden spoon will help quicken the process. This greatly prevents it from overcooking, especially on the bottom. When rice is cooled, place it in a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. The rice should feel cool and fairly hard when you begin adding ingredients to it.
  2. Wash the banana leaves carefully but well – even store bought leaves can have a lot of debris still left on them. You can do this by filling a clean sink with water and carefully separating and soaking them for a few minutes. Lay out a clean towel and spread them out, one by one, wiping with another towel -down the grain of the leaves-, so as not to tear them (they’re touchy little bastards). Cut into 5″x8″ elongated, octagonal pieces. Stack with the shiny side down (this side will be on the outside as you fold your parcels).
  3. Blend the blood (if necessary) with the salt and refrigerate until mixing time.
  4. Cook the minced shallot in about 1 Tbsp of oil until caramelized. Add the minced garlic, ginger, lemongrass, more oil (if needed), and sauté until tender. Set aside and cool.
  5. Mix the palm sugar, soy, and 1 Tbsp of the fish sauce with the pork. Sauté the meat in 1Tbsp of oil until there is a good sear on it. Set aside and cool.
  6. Mix the blood well into the cooled rice. Add the meat, sautéed aromatics, fresh herbs into the blood/rice mixture and fold together gently.
  7. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the center of the banana leaves. Bring up the long edges and pinch with thumb and forefinger. Fold the shorter edges in and secure with a toothpick. (Good luck!;)
  8. Steam for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through in the center.
  9. Serve with fried onions/shallots, fresh herbs, dried, toasted chilies, and/or chili sauce.

Notes and Tips:

When you steam the parcels, the rice will continue to cook, so try not to overcook the rice, or the end product will be mushy and have no bite to it. We recommend pulling the rice out a few minutes early and cooling it quickly. It should be cooked al dente, with a little bite still left in it.

Sauté the aromatics and pork until they have good color to bring out extra flavor in the dish.

We used an electric steamer to cook the parcels. If you’re using a steamer pan or bamboo basket, keep in mind that you may have to adjust the time, so monitor frequently towards the end for preferred texture.


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