Khao hang: Sakon Nakhon’s speciality that’s rich in nutrients
Khao hang, or GABA rice, is a speciality of the Northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon as the method to maintain the grains’ nutritional benefits has been preserved for more than 200 years.
Among the nutrients, gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA helps reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol, and decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Manganese, meanwhile, helps reduce the risk of cancer.
The rich aroma, smooth texture and nutritional benefits are ensured through four main steps, as follows:
- Soak - Soak paddy in clean water for two days. The water must be changed once a day to ensure high nutrition.
- Steam - Steam paddy for 40 minutes to maintain nutrition. Using a bamboo steamer and wood stove is recommended to reduce cost and maintain aroma.
- Dry - Dry paddy outdoors. Drying amid strong sunlight should be avoided to prevent damage to rice.
- Mill - Mill the paddy with a milling machine. Polishing the rice should be avoided as it could affect nutrition.
This method can be applied to all species including jasmine rice, black aromatic rice, red rice and even sticky rice.
However, it is recommended to make khao hang from rice that has not been cultivated using chemicals to ensure maximum nutritional benefits.
Passed down through the generations
The Khao Hang Thip community enterprise in Wanon Niwat district is working hard to develop a variety of products made from khao hang to meet consumers’ needs, such as flour, cookies and banana cake.
Thanks to the assistance of Thailand Post and related agencies, members of the community enterprise have been given an opportunity to learn how to apply value to their products and improve production to meet standards.
Khao hang products from the enterprise have been approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration. They have been listed under the One Tambon One Product project.
Phumchai Wisetsa, Wanon Niwat district’s senior permanent secretary, said khao hang came about because the Kud Chik neighbourhood has plentiful creeks and rice fields.
“Most residents in the neighbourhood are descendants of Phu Thai ethnic group who have preserved culture and tradition for a long time,” he said.
Phumchai said khao hang is a speciality in Sakon Nakhon because of its unique characteristics and nutritional value that are beneficial to health.
He also thanked Thailand Post and related agencies for developing a wide range of khao hang products and promoting them widely.
“I believe that khao hang will help generate income for farmers, stimulate the economy and boost the image of Sakon Nakhon products,” he said.
Rungarun Kumchampa, head of Khao Hang Thip community enterprise, also thanked Thailand Post, saying it had enabled members of the community enterprise to increase the value of khao hang products, which are now available offline and online.
“Thailand Post allowed us to study how to increase product value, so we can develop our products over time,” she said.
She added that bottled rice and cookies have become popular among teenagers thanks to their lightweight packages.
Further development of khao hang
Thailand Post president Danan Suphatthaphan said Khao Hang Thip community enterprise was a part of the state enterprise’s “Thailand Post increasing happiness” project.
“The project aims to boost the value of local products and generate revenue for communities,” he explained, adding that khao hang is popular among health-conscious consumers.
He added that khao hang products are being delivered to Wanon Niwat Hospital for cooking as healthy foods for patients.
Products are also being distributed offline and online, such as through post offices and Thailand Post’s Mart e-commerce platform, he added.
Danan also outlined Thailand Post’s “high-point” plan to further develop khao hang products:
- High profile: Developing products to penetrate healthcare markets, as well as presenting the origin of products.
- High benefit: Preserving the production method to ensure maximum nutritional benefits.
- High value: Enabling the community enterprise to generate more revenue by developing new products and showcasing them at agricultural product exhibitions.