July 29, 2020
The Chewy, Sticky Glory of Glutinous Rice
Article2-Matcha-Mochi-Doughnut-Recipe-2000×1333

It gives mochi its bouncy bite and fried chicken its craggy crust. But that’s not all.

The texture of glutinous rice has no single descriptor. It’s the soft, baby-cheek bounce of a mochi bursting with red bean paste; the mouth-coating, finger-sticking sweetness of a Thai sticky rice dessert drenched in coconut milk; the fragrant, hearty chewiness of a pulut inti, a Malaysian rice cake topped with syrup-stewed coconut shreds.

“Sticky” doesn’t even do it justice, as it covers “a wide textural gamut, from only barely sticky, like Taiwanese pearl rice, to the stretchy stickiness of Japanese mochigome, to the really hearty, rib-sticking character of pulut hitam (black glutinous rice),” explains Christopher Tan, cooking instructor and author of NerdBaker and The Way of Kueh. This is because of high levels of amylopectin starch that give the grain its trademark chew and bounce.

Whether you call it sticky rice, glutinous rice, or even sweet rice—it’s a staple of many facets of Asian cooking. But when milled into a fine flour (as found in those slim white boxes of Mochiko), glutinous rice’s portfolio expands exponentially, adding a supple bounce to bakes and cakes, and an addictive crunch when battered onto bite-size pieces of chicken and deep-fried. Even when whisked with water and sugar for the simplest form of plain mochi—the foundation of many Japanese sweets and desserts—it’s like “a gentler incarnation of a marshmallow, subtly sweet and powdery pastel with a hint of coconut and a pillowy-soft chew,” according to A Common Table author Cynthia Chen McTernan.

With my recent infatuation for haphazardly swapping out all-purpose wheat flour in my baking for glutinous rice flour, the Instagram Explore page led me to mochi donuts—made entirely from glutinous rice flour—which Mandy Lee of Lady and Pups describes as fast, easy, and effortlessly addictive. “With the structure and interior holes almost like a good yeast donut, but better,” she says.

The appeal of bouncy, chewy pliancy cements glutinous rice flour’s rightful place next to all-purpose flour in the pantry. TASTE assistant editor Tatiana Bautista recalls her epiphany-inducing encounter with butter mochi, a squishy Hawaiian dessert made with plenty of butter and canned milks. And, as I recently realized, my very first two pieces of writing for TASTE were both on glutinous rice flour: an ode to the time-honored tradition of Chinese nian gao (sticky rice cake) and a revelation about muah chee made in a microwave.

In and around all these recipes and stories, glutinous rice—in grain form or flour—has firmly adhered itself to the imagination of home cooks all over. Here are some more of our favorites to get stuck in.

READ MORE ABOUT THE WIDE WORLD OF GLUTINOUS RICE

WHAT TO BUY

Yi Jun Loh

Yi Jun Loh is a freelance writer and cook. An engineer by training, he immersed himself into the food industry right after graduating from Cambridge, learning to cook in Paris and then at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. He is now based in Malaysia, obsessing over food culture and science through his blog Jun & Tonic.

[email_signup id="3"]
<div class="email-subscribe exp-subscribe subscribe"> <div class="alert alert-success exp-success ga-etembed-success" style="display:none;"> Great! You've signed up successfully! </div> <div class="alert alert-danger exp-error" style="display:none;"> We are experiencing an error, please try again. </div> <form name="subscribe" id="email-signup" class="email-signup-form" action="https://tastecooking.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php" method="POST" target="_top" data-event-assigned="false"> <fieldset class="form-group form-inline email-submit-group"> <label for="email-address" class="sr-only">Email Address</label> <input id="email-newsletter" type="email" placeholder="your@email.com" class="email-newsletter text email form-control" name="email" value=""> <button type="submit" value="Subscribe" name="subscribe" class="btn btn-primary email-submit-btn ga-etembed-success"> <i class="fa fa-envelope"></i> Subscribe </button> </fieldset> <small class="exp-small terms" style=""> By clicking Subscribe, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Penguin Random House <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/privacy/" target="_blank">Privacy Policy</a> and <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/terms/" target="_blank">Terms of Use</a> and agree to receive news and updates from TASTE and Penguin Random House. </small> <fieldset class="field-group checkboxes" style="display:none"> <div class="checkbox"> <label> <input type="checkbox" name="programs[]" value="505,50501,1" class="exp-checkbox" checked="checked"> <span><strong>Tastebook General</strong></span> </label> </div> <div class="checkbox"> <label> <input type="checkbox" name="programs[]" value="505,50502,1" class="exp-checkbox" checked="checked"> <span><strong>Tastebook Promo</strong></span> </label> </div> </fieldset><!-- /.checkboxes --> <input type="hidden" name="data_acq_code" value="TASTE_POPUP_STATIC_ONGOING" /> <input type="hidden" name="data_programs" value="50501|505,50502|505" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" value="3" /> <input type="hidden" name="partner" value="" /> <input type="hidden" name="action" value="crown_email_signup_submit" /> <input type="hidden" name="ref_url" value="" /> </form> </div> <script> jQuery(document).ready(function () { var unassigned_forms; setInterval( function() { //Check for unassigned forms var forms = jQuery( '.email-signup-form' ); unassigned_forms = false; forms.each( function( index ) { if ( jQuery( this ).attr( 'data-event-assigned' ) === 'false' ) { unassigned_forms = true; } }); if ( unassigned_forms ) { forms.off( 'submit' ).on( 'submit', function ( e ) { forms.attr( 'data-event-assigned', 'true' ); e.preventDefault(); // Basic email validation var email = jQuery(e.target).find('.email-newsletter').val(), valid_email = false, groupEl = jQuery(e.target).closest('.email-subscribe'); if ( !!email && typeof(email) === "string" ) { var email_array = email.split('@'); if ( email_array.length === 2 ) { if ( email_array[1].split('.').length > 1 ) { valid_email = true; } } } if ( valid_email ) { jQuery('.alert-danger').hide(); // Show loading gif groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').hide(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').show(); // Populate ref_url jQuery(this).find('input[name="ref_url"]').val(window.location.href); // Generate Payload var payload = jQuery(this).serializeArray(); jQuery.ajax({ url: jQuery(this).attr('action'), type: 'POST', data: payload, success: function (data) { // Hide loading spinner groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').show(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').hide(); // Display success msg var target = jQuery(e.target); jQuery(e.target).hide(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('.alert-success').show(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('#downloadbtn').show(); }, fail: function (err) { // Hide loading spinner groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').show(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').hide(); // Display failure msg var target = jQuery(e.target); jQuery(e.target).hide(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('.alert-danger').show(); } }); } else { groupEl.find('.alert-danger').html('Please enter a valid email address.').show(); } }); forms.off( 'keypress' ).on( 'keypress', function ( e ) { if ( e.which === 13 ) { e.preventDefault(); jQuery( this ).submit(); } }); } }, 100); }); </script>
[email_signup id="3"]
<div class="email-subscribe exp-subscribe subscribe"> <div class="alert alert-success exp-success ga-etembed-success" style="display:none;"> Great! You've signed up successfully! </div> <div class="alert alert-danger exp-error" style="display:none;"> We are experiencing an error, please try again. </div> <form name="subscribe" id="email-signup" class="email-signup-form" action="https://tastecooking.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php" method="POST" target="_top" data-event-assigned="false"> <fieldset class="form-group form-inline email-submit-group"> <label for="email-address" class="sr-only">Email Address</label> <input id="email-newsletter" type="email" placeholder="your@email.com" class="email-newsletter text email form-control" name="email" value=""> <button type="submit" value="Subscribe" name="subscribe" class="btn btn-primary email-submit-btn ga-etembed-success"> <i class="fa fa-envelope"></i> Subscribe </button> </fieldset> <small class="exp-small terms" style=""> By clicking Subscribe, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Penguin Random House <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/privacy/" target="_blank">Privacy Policy</a> and <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/terms/" target="_blank">Terms of Use</a> and agree to receive news and updates from TASTE and Penguin Random House. </small> <fieldset class="field-group checkboxes" style="display:none"> <div class="checkbox"> <label> <input type="checkbox" name="programs[]" value="505,50501,1" class="exp-checkbox" checked="checked"> <span><strong>Tastebook General</strong></span> </label> </div> <div class="checkbox"> <label> <input type="checkbox" name="programs[]" value="505,50502,1" class="exp-checkbox" checked="checked"> <span><strong>Tastebook Promo</strong></span> </label> </div> </fieldset><!-- /.checkboxes --> <input type="hidden" name="data_acq_code" value="TASTE_POPUP_STATIC_ONGOING" /> <input type="hidden" name="data_programs" value="50501|505,50502|505" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" value="3" /> <input type="hidden" name="partner" value="" /> <input type="hidden" name="action" value="crown_email_signup_submit" /> <input type="hidden" name="ref_url" value="" /> </form> </div> <script> jQuery(document).ready(function () { var unassigned_forms; setInterval( function() { //Check for unassigned forms var forms = jQuery( '.email-signup-form' ); unassigned_forms = false; forms.each( function( index ) { if ( jQuery( this ).attr( 'data-event-assigned' ) === 'false' ) { unassigned_forms = true; } }); if ( unassigned_forms ) { forms.off( 'submit' ).on( 'submit', function ( e ) { forms.attr( 'data-event-assigned', 'true' ); e.preventDefault(); // Basic email validation var email = jQuery(e.target).find('.email-newsletter').val(), valid_email = false, groupEl = jQuery(e.target).closest('.email-subscribe'); if ( !!email && typeof(email) === "string" ) { var email_array = email.split('@'); if ( email_array.length === 2 ) { if ( email_array[1].split('.').length > 1 ) { valid_email = true; } } } if ( valid_email ) { jQuery('.alert-danger').hide(); // Show loading gif groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').hide(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').show(); // Populate ref_url jQuery(this).find('input[name="ref_url"]').val(window.location.href); // Generate Payload var payload = jQuery(this).serializeArray(); jQuery.ajax({ url: jQuery(this).attr('action'), type: 'POST', data: payload, success: function (data) { // Hide loading spinner groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').show(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').hide(); // Display success msg var target = jQuery(e.target); jQuery(e.target).hide(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('.alert-success').show(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('#downloadbtn').show(); }, fail: function (err) { // Hide loading spinner groupEl.find('.email-signup-form').show(); groupEl.find('.email-submit-loading').hide(); // Display failure msg var target = jQuery(e.target); jQuery(e.target).hide(); jQuery(e.target).parent().find('.alert-danger').show(); } }); } else { groupEl.find('.alert-danger').html('Please enter a valid email address.').show(); } }); forms.off( 'keypress' ).on( 'keypress', function ( e ) { if ( e.which === 13 ) { e.preventDefault(); jQuery( this ).submit(); } }); } }, 100); }); </script>