Glutinous Rice Refers to the Rice's Sticky Nature, not to Gluten. Glutinous Rice, like all Rice does not Contain Gluten.
Glutinous Rice
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Glutinous Rice is a Japonica Rice also known as Japanese Sweet Rice (Mochi Gome or Mochigome in Japan), Mochi Rice, Sticky Rice, Sweet Rice, Waxy Rice, Botan Rice, Biroin Chal, Pearl Rice and/or Pulut. Glutinous Rice is a Short Grained Rice that has a very high level of Amylopectin, the sticky Starch. It has, at most, 1% of Amylose, the stiff starch. A single mutation in the DNA of the Glutinous Rice is what accounts for the difference in the amounts of Amylopectin.

Glutinous Rice, though called Japanese Sweet Rice, is not the same thing as Sushi Rice or as Japanese Short Grain Rice (Uruchimai Rice, which can also get sticky when cooked). Glutinous Rice can be used for Sushi and eaten plain, but Glutinous Rice is stickier than either of these other two mentioned just above. It has a firmer and chewier texture and is sweet. Glutinous Rice is so sweet that it is frequently used for desserts such as Mochi.

By the way, Glutinous Rice is not called “Glutinous” because it is high in Gluten but because it sticks together tightly when cooked, like glue.

Glutinous Rice has been used in China for at least 2,000 years and can be used either milled (White Rice) with the Rice Bran removed or un-milled (Brown Rice) with the Rice Bran removed.

Milled Glutinous Rice has a short, round grain that is opaque and white in color when Raw. It turns translucent and gets gelatinous, sticky, and clumpy when cooked. The individual grains do not hold their shape very well after they’ve been heated. Brown Gelatinous Rice is technically Brown Rice but can have a purple or black color.

Season

Glutinous Rice is sown in the spring and harvested in the fall. See Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource for more information on the seasonality of Rice.

Cultivation

Glutinous rice is grown mostly in Southeast Asia. See Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource for more information on Rice Cultivation.

Production

Glutinous Rice is farmed in Southeast Asia (85% of Laotian Rice production is Glutinous Rice and 70% of the Rice grown on the Mekong River), China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Northeast India. Very little true Glutinous Rice is grown in the United States.

The original problem with Glutinous Rice production was yield, but over time higher-yielding strains have been developed (most notably by the Lao National Rice Research Program).

In the developing markets of Asia there is very little regulation of Glutinous Rice production. Some governments have issued warnings about adulterated product coming from some of these regions. Typically the advisories point to toxic dyes being used to darken and color lighter colored Rice.

Varieties

There are many Glutinous Rice cultivars. Black Glutinous Rice and Purple Glutinous Rice are the most notable.

Purchasing

In the U.S. you won’t find Glutinous Rice at most stores. If you do, it may be labeled as “Japanese Sweet Rice” or even as “Mochi Gome” (the Japanese name). Asian Markets are a better bet if you strike out at the local grocery store. The Internet is also a good way to go.

However you find it, it will most likely be a White Rice version (milled to remove the Rice Bran) and imported. You should double check the product if you can see into the package: real Glutinous Rice grains should be opaque and white in color. Brown Rice varieties (with the Rice Bran intact) can be found but are less common. Black Glutinous Rice is another less common option. Be aware that some unscrupulous exporters use toxic dye to darken and color other forms of Rice to make them appear like Black Glutinous Rice. Shop with a reputable merchant and select a strong brand when purchasing Black Glutinous Rice.

Glutinous Rice is generally available in prepackaged containers. When purchasing Rice, always check the expiration date as Rice can go bad if stored too long.

While you are selecting your Rice (in bulk or in packages), keep an eye out for any signs of moisture which can ruin Rice. Also, try and buy as few broken grains of Rice as possible. Broken grains are smaller than whole grains and the two sizes won’t cook uniformly together, making your final dish a mess of overdone and underdone Rice.

Glutinous Brown Rice is infrequently available, but when it is it will be sold in prepackaged containers. Because Brown Glutinous Rice retains its Rice Bran (and Rice Bran Oil which can go Rancid) we urge you to check the expiration date before purchasing. Brown Rice goes bad much more quickly than White Rice

Storage

Because it is a dried Grain, an unopened container of White Glutinous Rice will keep almost indefinitely in a pantry at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or frozen. Once opened, the only real risks to the shelf life are moisture and pests, including bugs and rats. Keeping the container sealed and airtight can protect against both of these.

Because Brown Glutinous Rice retains its Bran Layer (with the Rice Bran Oil which will go Rancid), it has a shorter shelf life than White Rice and requires a little different handling and philosophy to maximize your yield and value.

With Brown Glutinous Rice, how you store it revolves around how quickly you plan to use it. If you plan to use it all in a few weeks, store the Brown Glutinous Rice in an airtight container in a cool dark place like your pantry. Sealed, it may last 3-6 months but will be best for only a few weeks. If you open your package from the pantry, store the unused portion in the refrigerator or freezer for a better shelf life.

In the refrigerator, sealed, your Brown Glutinous Rice will last for 6-12 months in an airtight container. Frozen, you should get 12-18 months (for best quality).

Let cooked Glutinous Rice cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked Glutinous Rice will last about 4-7 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days. 

Culinary Uses

Raw, the grains of Glutinous Rice will be opaque and white in color. Cooking heat will turn them translucent and sticky.

By volume, Glutinous Rice is most often eaten alone and plain. Once cooked, it is mostly bland with a slight nutty sweetness. On the plate, it will be softer and stickier than the typical Long Grain Rice that you might be used to. Glutinous Rice should not be rinsed before use.

In general, Glutinous Rice, which is stickier than Long Grain Rice, is cooked with the “Bang/Bang” method described in Smart Kitchen’s Cooking Sticky Rice Exercise, or by Steaming Rice.

Brown Glutinous Rice will take almost twice as long to cook as White Glutinous Rice.

All Glutinous Rice (Black, White, and Purple) can be cooked as separate grains, or ground down into a Flour and then cooked as a paste or gel. Glutinous Rice Flour is used for making Mochi, the traditional New Year’s Rice Cakes, and an array of Japanese confections and sweets. Glutinous Rice is also used for special dishes such as sekihan.

Nutritional Value

Amount Per 1 cup (185 g)

Calories 684

Total Fat 1 g 1%

Saturated fat 0.2 g 1%

Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g            

Monounsaturated fat 0.4 g         

Cholesterol 0 mg 0%

Sodium 13 mg 0%

Potassium 142 mg 4%

Total Carbohydrate 151 g 50%

Dietary fiber 5 g 20%

Protein 13 g 26%

Vitamin A 0%    

Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 2%        

Iron 16%

Vitamin D 0%    

Vitamin B-6 10%

Vitamin B-12 0%              

Magnesium 10%

Nutrition

Glutinous Rice does not contain Gluten, meaning that it does not contain glutenin or gliadin. Glutinous Rice is safe for Gluten Free diets.

Glutinous Rice is called Glutinous because it is “glue-like” when cooked.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes