Compared to other rice types such as jasmine rice or japonica rice, glutinous rice is much different in terms of texture and uses.
- 1 Glutinous rice’s definition
- 2 Glutinous rice types
- 3 Common misunderstandings about glutinous rice
- 4 Glutinous rice’s uses
Glutinous rice’s definition
Glutinous rice is actually the name of a type of rice, and not of a particular dish, in particular, it is a variety of short-grain rice very low in amylose content. As long as the rice has a chewy texture, it is termed glutinous rice.
The composition of glutinous rice is unique in the way that when cooked, grains of glutinous rice stick together in a single mass. This stickiness is due to the fact that the rice is nutritionally high in amylopectin starch which provides a greater amount of calories for consumers. That is the reason why it also has a substitute name which is sticky rice.
Glutinous rice types
There are many assortments of glutinous rice varying from long-grain rice to short-grain one; sometimes white to purple; each of them has a different price ranging from 0.70- 2.26 USD/kg depending on its percentage of being broken as well as other measured qualities. However, glutinous rice can be perceived in 4 main types, depending on its originating location.
Vietnamese glutinous rice
Vietnamese glutinous rice does not contain digestible gluten, therefore, it is safe for a gluten-free diet. What distinguishes Vietnamese glutinous rice from other types of rice is that glutinous rice does not contain amylose or contains negligible. It is amylopectin that gives Vietnamese glutinous rice its sticky properties.
Japanese glutinous rice
A variety of Japanese rice can be categorized as short-grain rice and has opaque grain. Japanese glutinous rice, like its name, has a sweet flavor and a particularly sticky texture that’s extremely useful for making desserts.
Thai glutinous rice
Different varieties of rice have different degrees of aroma and stickiness. For example, glutinous rice varieties from Laos, as well as Northern Thailand, have a tendency to be longer and have a more floral scent than that from Japan.
Common misunderstandings about glutinous rice
Sometimes, glutinous rice is misunderstood by people in terms of its name and characteristics.
Misunderstanding about the name
The name “glutinous” might be misleading as many people may think that it contains high levels of gluten. Contradictorily, the truth depends on what type of glutinous rice is being measured. For example, white glutinous rice has little to no gluten, but the whole grain variety tends to have a great deal of it.
Gluten-free dieters can not eat glutinous rice
Due to that misleading assumption, which is quite “unfair” for glutinous rice, the majority of people may think that it is not considered a good ingredient in a healthy diet such as low-carb or eat-clean…. While it is true to some extent as glutinous rice provides more calories when eating compared to any other type of rice, the rice should still be safe for gluten-free diets.
Mistaken sushi rice for glutinous rice
There is a variety of short-grain rice that bears a high resemblance to glutinous rice in its signature sticky quality. It is often termed as Japanese rice or “sushi rice” because it is commonly used to make Japanese sushi. However, those two kinds of rice appear to have considerably different characteristics. While it is true that sushi rice, along with other japonica varieties, possesses a higher level of stickiness when compared to Indica rice like jasmine or basmati rice, it is nowhere near as sticky as glutinous rice because its content of amylopectin, which is responsible for the sticky quality of rice, is much lower than that of glutinous one.
Glutinous rice’s uses
Glutinous rice is ideal for making Asian customary dishes like stuffed sticky rice cake, steamed sticky rice, and sweet porridge.
In Vietnamese cuisine
In Vietnam, it is mainly used to make “xoi” and specialties such as “banh chung” as a national dish. It would be awkward when mentioning Vietnamese delicacies without making reference to glutinous rice. Cakes made from sticky rice are so variable that probably hardly can anyone ever try all of those cakes. They vary from “banh”, “com nep” to “che”.
In the Philippine cuisine
In the Philippines, glutinous rice is commonly used to make dishes from snacks such as “puto” (simply known as steamed sticky rice cake), “bibingka” (cooked with baked fermented glutinous rice with coconut milk)… to desserts and delicacies like “sapin-sapin” which is made with many layers of glutinous rice, each with a different flavor and texture.
In Korean cuisine
Glutinous rice is a very popular ingredient in Korean cuisine. It comes to plain that kimbap has become one of the most popular dishes of Korean street food in the world. The secret ingredient for that kind of rice is glutinous rice, Koreans mix jasmine rice with glutinous rice before cooking so as for the rice to reach a certain level of stickiness and its aroma of the ultimate rice is the perfect combination of both types of rice. Moreover, sticky rice is also used as an ingredient of tokbokki, sticky rice cakes.
In Japanese cuisine
While Korean take pride in their delicacies like tokbokki and kimbap which are mainly made from glutinous rice, Japanese people use Japanese sweet rice mainly for making mochi or traditional wagashi candy. Talking about glutinous rice in Japan, you will immediately hear a recommendation from a Japanese about that mochi cake and wagashi candy.
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