Glutinous rice

Glutinous rice

Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, and pearl rice, and pulut)[1] is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (< Latin glūtinōsus)[2] in the sense of being glue-like or sticky and not in the sense of containing gluten.[citation needed] While called "sticky," it is not to be confused with the other varieties of Asian rice, which become sticky to one degree or another when cooked.



Glutinous rice is a type of rice grown in Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia and Indonesia. An estimated 85% of Lao rice production is of this type.[3] The rice has been recorded in the region for at least 1,100 years. The improved rice varieties (in terms of yield) adopted throughout Asia during the Green Revolution were non-glutinous, and Lao farmers rejected them in favor of their traditional sticky varieties. Over time, higher-yield strains of glutinous rice have become available from the Lao National Rice Research Programme.

By 1999, more than 70% of the area along the Mekong River Valley were of these newer strains. In China, glutinous rice has been grown for at least 2,000 years.[4] According to legend, it was used to make the mortar in the construction of the Great Wall of China. Chemical tests have confirmed that this is true for the city walls of Xian.[5] Sticky rice is used in recipes throughout Southeast and East Asia.


Glutinous rice does not contain dietary gluten (i.e. does not contain glutenin and gliadin), and should be safe for gluten-free diets. It is distinguished from other types of rice by having no (or negligible amounts of) amylose, and high amounts of amylopectin (those are the two components of starch). Amylopectin is responsible for the sticky quality of glutinous rice. The difference has been traced to a single mutation that was selected for by farmers.[4][6]

Glutinous rice can be used either milled or unmilled (that is, with the bran removed or not removed). Milled glutinous rice is white in color and fully opaque (unlike non-glutinous rice varieties, which are somewhat translucent when raw), whereas the bran can give unmilled glutinous rice a purple or black color.[7] Black and purple glutinous rice are distinct strains from white glutinous rice. In developing Asia, there is little regulation. Governments have issued advisories about toxic dyes being added to color adulterated rice. Both black and white glutinous rice can be cooked as grains or ground into flour and cooked as a paste or gel.


Burmese traditions

Glutinous rice, called kao hnyin (ကောက်ညှင်း), is very popular in Myanmar (also known as Burma).

  • Kao hnyin baung (ကောက်ညှင်းပေါင်း) is a breakfast dish with boiled peas (pèbyouk) or with a variety of fritters, such as urad dal (baya gyaw), served on a banana leaf. It may be cooked wrapped in a banana leaf, often with peas, and served with a sprinkle of salted toasted sesame seeds and often grated coconut.
  • The purple variety, known as kao hynin ngacheik (ကောင်းညှင်းငချိမ့်), is equally popular cooked as ngacheik paung.
  • They may both be cooked and pounded into cakes with sesame called hkaw bouk, another favourite version in the north among the Shan and the Kachin, and served grilled or fried.
  • The Htamanè pwè (festival) takes place on the full moon of Dabodwè (February), when htamanè is cooked in a huge wok. Two men, each with a wooden spoon the size of an oar, and a third man coordinate the action of folding and stirring the contents, which include kao hnyin, ngacheik, coconut shavings, peanuts, sesame and ginger in peanut oil.
  • Si htamin (ဆီထမင်း) is glutinous rice cooked with turmeric and onions in peanut oil, and served with toasted sesame and crisp-fried onions; it is a popular breakfast like kao hnyin baung and ngacheik paung.
  • Paung din (ပေါငျးတငျ) is another ready-to-eat portable form cooked in a segment of bamboo. When the bamboo is peeled off, a thin skin remains around the rice and also gives off a distinctive aroma.
  • Mont let kauk (မုန့်လကျကေါကျ) is made from glutinous rice flour; it is donut-shaped and fried like baya gyaw, but eaten with a dip of jaggery or palm sugar syrup.
  • Mont lone yei baw (မုန့်လုံးရေပေါ်) are glutinous rice balls with jaggery inside, thrown into boiling water in a huge wok, and ready to serve as soon as they resurface. Their preparation is a tradition during Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.
  • Htoe mont (ထိုးမုန့်), glutinous rice cake with raisins, cashews and coconut shavings, is a traditional dessert for special occasions. It is appreciated as a gift item from Mandalay.
  • Nga pyaw douk, banana in glutinous rice, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed and served with grated coconut - another favourite snack, like kao hnyin baung and mont let kauk, sold by street hawkers.

Chinese traditions

In Chinese, glutinous rice is known as nuòmǐ (糯米) or chu̍t-bí (秫米) in Hokkien.

The Chinese dish, nuòmǐ fàn (糯米飯), is steamed glutinous rice usually cooked with Chinese sausage, chopped Chinese mushrooms, chopped barbecue pork and optionally dried shrimp or scallop (recipe varies depending on the cook's preference).

Zongzi (Traditional Chinese 糭子/糉子, Simplified Chinese 粽子) is a Chinese dumpling consisting of glutinous rice and sweet or savory fillings wrapped in leaves, which is then boiled or steamed, commonly eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. Lo mai gai is a parcel of glutinous rice and chicken wrapped in lotus leaves and steamed. It is served as a dim sum dish in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Lo mai gai (糯米雞) is a dim sum dish consisting of steamed glutinous rice with chicken in a lotus-leaf wrap. Ba bao fan (八寶飯) or "eight treasure rice" is a dessert made from glutinous rice, steamed and mixed with lard, sugar, and eight kinds of fruits or nuts.

Glutinous rice is also often ground to make glutinous rice flour. This flour is made into niangao and sweet-filled dumplings tangyuan, both of which are commonly eaten at Chinese New Year. It also sometimes used as a thickener and for baking.

Filipino traditions

In the Philippines, glutinous rice is known as malagkit (literally "sticky" in Tagalog, cognate to Malay melekit); milled glutinous rice is known as galapong. Milling, that is, washing and soaking the rice first, and then proceeding to milling, is generally preferred. This removes the powdery texture found in glutinous rice that has been dried first and milled as flour.

Glutinous rice cooked in coconut or banana leaf wrappers are steamed to produce suman, of which there are many varieties depending on the region. Some of the common toppings are bukayo, grated mature coconut cooked in sugar; coconut jam; and freshly grated coconut. Some regions eat suman as a snack with ripe mangoes or bananas. In suman sa lihiya (lye), the rice grains are treated with a solution of lye and dried. The grains are put into a banana leaf cone or coconut leaf wrapper and steamed. The rice may be mixed with sugar, coconut milk, or other grains such as millet. Malagkit is also used in puto, or steamed rice cakes, of which numerous variations exist.

Bibingka is a general term for sweet rice cake, which is mainly glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk. Bibingka is often associated with the Philippine Christmas season. Another common Philippine Christmas tradition includes puto bumbong, a suman-like sweet dish steamed in special containers with bamboo tubes, and served with butter, grated coconuts, sugar, and sometimes toasted sesame seeds. Puto bumbong traditionally uses a special heirloom variety of glutinous rice called pirurutong, which has a naturally purple colour.

Another traditional Filipino sweet snack similar to Japanese mochi is called palitao.

Glutinous rice is also used in gruel-like dishes such as champorado, which is cooked with cocoa powder and sweetened. Milk is usually added, and tuyo is served with it as a counterpoint. Lugaw, goto, and arroz caldo, are all variants of rice porridge dishes, featuring glutinous rice mixed with regular rice.

Bilo-Bilo or Ginataan uses glutinous rice. It is a sweet, thick soup made of coconut milk, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, plantain, sago pearls, and the bilo, or galapong shaped into balls.

Japanese traditions

Preparation of mochi in Japan

In Japan, glutinous rice is known as mochigome (Japanese: もち米). Prepared as rice flour, it is known as mochiko. It is used to make mochi, a traditional rice cake prepared for the Japanese New Year but also eaten year-round. See also Japanese rice.

Korean traditions

In Korea, glutinous rice is called chapssal (Hangul: 찹쌀), and its characteristic stickiness is called chalgi (Hangul: 찰기). Cooked rice made of glutinous rice is called chalbap (Hangul: 찰밥) and rice cakes (Hangul: 떡, ddeok) are called chalddeok or chapssalddeok (Hangul: 찰떡, 찹쌀떡). Chalbap is used as stuffing in samgyetang (Hangul: 삼계탕).

Lao traditions

A Lao rice basket

Glutinous rice is the main rice eaten in Laos, where it is known as khao niao (Lao: ເຂົ້າໜຽວ): "khao" means rice, and "niao" means sticky. It is cooked by soaking for several hours and then steaming in a bamboo pot or huat (Lao: ຫວດ, Thai: หวด). After that, it should be turned out on a clean surface and kneaded with a wooden paddle to release the steam; this results in rice balls that will stick to themselves but not to fingers. The large rice ball is kept in a small basket made of bamboo or katip (Lao: ກະຕິບ). The rice is sticky but dry, rather than wet and gummy like non-glutinous varieties. The fingers of the right hand are used to eat it by wadding the rice.

Laotians consume glutinous rice as part of their main diet; they also use toasted glutinous rice (khao kua) to add a nut-like flavor to many dishes. A popular Lao meal is a combination of Lao grilled chicken (ping gai), Lao papaya salad (tam mak hoong), and Lao sticky rice (khao niao).

Khao niao is also used as an ingredient in desserts. Khao niao mixed with coconut milk can be served with ripened mango or durian. Khao tom is a steamed mixture of khao niao with sliced fruits and coconut milk.

Malay and Indonesian traditions

Kue Lapis - Indonesian cake made mainly of glutinous rice

In Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia glutinous rice is known as pulut, and also known as ketan in Indonesia. It is usually mixed with santan, meaning coconut milk in Malay, along with a bit of salt to add some taste. It is widely used during the Raya festive seasons as traditional food, such as

  • Palas - cooked pulut wrapped in triangular shaped crafts made from local leaves and left to be boiled for 3 – 4 hours to result nice shaped compression and to bring out the aroma or taste from the wrapped leaves.
  • Lemang - wrapped in banana leaves and inside a bamboo, and left to be barbecued/grilled on an open fire, to make the taste and texture tender and unique
  • Ketupat - square shaped crafts made from the same local leaves as palas, but it is usually filled with regular rice grains instead of pulut, but it depends on the maker.
  • Lupis - glutinous rice wrapped in individual triangles using banana leaves and left to boil for a few hours. The rice pieces are then tossed with grated coconut all over and served with palm sugar syrup.
  • Lemper - cooked glutinous rice with shredded meat inside and wrapped in banana leaves, popular in Java
  • Tapai - cooked glutinous rice fermented with yeast, wrapped in banana or roseapple leaves.

Pulut will also be used in certain famous traditional local desserts, known as kuih (Peninsular) or kue (Insular), such as kue lapis, wajik (or wajit), and dodol.

Thai traditions

In Thailand glutinous rice is known as khao niao (Thai: ข้าวเหนียว in Central Thailand and Isan; and as khao nueng in Northern Thailand (Thai: เข้าหนึ้ง). Northern Thais (Lanna people) and northeastern Thais, as most other Tai peoples traditionally eat glutinous rice as their staple food. The exceptions are Southern and Central Thais, and northeastern Thais from Surin Province and neighboring areas who were influenced by the Khmer-Thai people and favor non-sticky Khao chao.

  • Glutinous rice is one of the main ingredients in yam naem khao thot (Thai: ยำแหนม) or naem khluk (Thai: แหนมคลุก), an Isan snack made of crumbled crisp-fried glutinous rice balls, minced pork, ginger, green chillies, peanuts and onion.
  • Sweets and desserts: Famous among tourists in Thailand is khao niao mamuang (Thai: ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง): sweet coconut sticky rice with mango, while khao niao tat, sweet sticky rice with coconut cream and black beans[8], Khao niao nakrachik (Thai: ข้าวเหนียวหน้ากระฉีก), sweet sticky rice topped with caramelized roasted grated coconut[9], khao niao kaeo, sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar and khao tom hua ngok, sticky rice steamed with banana with grated coconut and sugar, are traditional popular desserts.[10]
  • Khao lam (Thai: ข้าวหลาม) is sticky rice with sugar and coconut cream cooked in specially-prepared bamboo sections of different diameters and lengths. It can be prepared with white or dark purple (khao niao dam) varieties of glutinous rice. Sometimes a few beans or nuts are added and mixed in. Thick khao lam containers may have a custard-like filling in the center made with coconut cream, egg and sugar.
  • Khao chi (Thai: ข้าวจี่) are cakes of sticky rice having the size and shape of a patty and a crunchy crust. In order to prepare them the glutinous rice is laced with salt, often also slightly coated with beaten egg, and grilled over a charcoal fire. They were traditionally made with leftover rice and given in the early morning to the children, or to passing monks as offering.[11]
  • Khao pong (Thai: ข้าวโป่ง) is a crunchy preparation made of leftover steamed glutinous rice that is pounded and pressed into thin sheets before being grilled.[12]
  • Khao tom mat (Thai: ข้าวต้มมัด), cooked sticky rice mixed with banana and wrapped in banana leaf,[13] khao ho, sticky rice molded and wrapped in conical shape, khao pradap din, kraya sat and khao thip are preparations based on glutinous rice used as offerings in religious festivals and ceremonies for merit-making or warding off evil spirits.[14]
  • Khao niao ping (Thai: ข้าวเหนียวปิ้ง), sticky rice mixed with coconut milk and taro (khao niao ping pheuak), banana (khao niao ping kluai) or black beans (khao niao ping tua), wrapped in banana leaf and grilled slowly over charcoal fire.[15]
  • Glutinous rice is also used as the basis for the brewing of sato (Thai: สาโท), an alcoholic beverage also known as "Thai rice wine".

Vietnamese traditions

Xôi lá cẩm made from glutinous rice with magenta plant

Glutinous rice is called "gạo nếp" in Vietnamese. Dishes made from glutinous rice in Vietnam are typically served as desserts or side dishes, but some can be served as main dishes. There is a wide array of glutinous rice dishes in Vietnamese cuisine, the majority of them can be categorized as follows:

  • Bánh, the most diverse category, refers to a wide variety of sweet or savoury, distinct cakes, buns, pastries, sandwiches, and food items from Vietnamese cuisine, which may be cooked by steaming, baking, frying, deep-frying, or boiling. It is important to note that not all bánh are made from glutinous rice; they can also be made from ordinary rice flour, cassava flour, taro flour, or tapioca starch. The word "bánh" is also used to refer to certain varieties of noodles in Vietnam, and absolutely not to be confused with glutinous rice dishes. Some bánh dishes that are made from glutinous rice include:
    • Bánh chưng: a square-shaped, boiled glutinous rice dumpling filled with pork and mung bean paste, wrapped in a dong leaf, usually eaten in Vietnamese New Year.
    • Bánh giầy: white, flat, round glutinous rice cake with tough, chewy texture filled with mung bean or served with Vietnamese sausage (chả), usually eaten in Vietnamese New Year with bánh chưng.
    • Bánh dừa: glutinous rice mixed with black bean paste cooked in coconut juice, wrapped in coconut leaf. The filling can be mung bean stir-fried in coconut juice or banana.
    • Bánh rán: a northern Vietnamese dish of deep-fried glutinous rice balls covered with sesame, scented with jasmine flower essence, filled with either sweetened mung bean paste (the sweet version) or chopped meat and mushrooms (the savory version).
    • Bánh cam: a southern Vietnamese version of bánh rán. Unlike bánh rán, bánh cam is coated with a layer of sugary liquid and has no jasmine essence.
    • Bánh trôi: made from glutinous rice mixed with a small portion of ordinary rice flour (the ratio of glutinous rice flour to ordinary rice flour is typically 9:1 or 8:2) filled with sugarcane rock candy.
    • Bánh gai: made from the leaves of the "gai" tree (Boehmeria nivea) dried, boiled, ground into small pieces, then mixed with glutinous rice, wrapped in banana leaf. The filling is made from a mixture of coconut, mung bean, peanuts, winter melon, sesames, and lotus seeds.
    • Bánh cốm: the cake is made from young glutinous rice seeds. The seeds are put into a water pot, stirred on fire, juice extracted from pomelo flower is added. The filling is made from steamed mung bean, scraped coconut, sweetened pumpkin, and sweetened lotus seeds.
    • Other bánh made from glutinous rice are bánh tro, bánh tét, bánh ú, bánh qui, bánh măng, bánh ít, bánh khúc, bánh tổ, bánh in, bánh dẻo, bánh su sê, bánh nổ...
  • Xôi are sweet or savory dishes made from steamed glutinous rice and other ingredients. Sweet xôi are typically eaten as breakfast. Savory xôi can be eaten as lunch. Xôi dishes made from glutinous rice include:
    • Xôi lá cẩm: made with the magenta plant.
    • Xôi lá dứa: made with pandan leaf extract for the green color and a distinctive pandan flavor.
    • Xôi chiên phồng: deep-fried glutinous rice patty
    • Xôi gà: made with coconut juice and pandan leaf served with fried or roasted chicken and sausage.
    • Xôi thập cẩm: made with dried shrimp, chicken, Chinese sausage, Vietnamese sausage (chả), peanuts, coconut, onion, fried garlic...
    • Other xôi dishes made from glutinous rice include: xôi lạc, xôi lúa, xôi đậu xanh, xôi nếp than, xôi gấc, xôi vò, xôi sắn, xôi sầu riêng, xôi khúc, xôi xéo, xôi cá, xôi vị...
  • Chè refers to any traditional Vietnamese sweetened soup or porridge. Though chè can be made using a wide variety of ingredients, some chè dishes made from glutinous rice include:
    • Chè đậu trắng: made from glutinous rice and black-eyed peas.
    • Chè con ong: made from glutinous rice, ginger root, honey, and molasses.
    • Chè cốm: made from young glutinous rice seeds, kudzu flour, and juice from pomelo flower.
    • Chè xôi nước: balls made from mung bean paste in a shell made of glutinous rice flour; served in a thick clear or brown liquid made of water, sugar, and grated ginger root.
  • Cơm nếp: glutinous rice that is cooked in the same way as ordinary rice, except that the water used is flavored by adding salts or by using coconut juice, or soups from chicken broth or pork broth.
  • Cơm rượu: Glutinous rice balls cooked and mixed with yeast, served in a slightly alcoholic milky white liquid.
  • Cơm lam: Glutinous rice cooked in a tube of bamboo of the genus Neohouzeaua and often served with grilled pork or chicken.

Glutinous rice can also be fermented to make Vietnamese alcoholic beverages, such as rượu nếp, rượu cần and rượu đế.


Other uses

In Malaysia, glutinous rice is used to make a cracker called inang-inang.

In Indonesia, it is called rengginang. There are two varieties of this snack, salty and sweet.

See also


External links

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