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Home Glossary Plant Derivatives Rice, Glutinous

Rice, Glutinous

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Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, and pearl rice) is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (< Latin glutinosus) in the sense of being glue-like or sticky and not in the sense of containing gluten; on the other hand, it is called sticky but should not be confused with the other varieties of Asian rice that become sticky to one degree or another when cooked. In comparison with those rices, sticky rice is very sticky.

[edit] Cultivation

Glutinous rice is a type of rice grown in Laos, and Thailand, and in some parts of China, it is also grown in Japan, and is used in recipes throughout South East and East Asia. An estimated 85% of Lao rice production is of this type.[1] Records of this rice go back at least to 1,100 years ago in this region. The improved rice varieties that swept through Asia during the Green Revolution were non-glutinous types and Lao farmers rejected them in favour of their traditional sticky varieties. Gradually though, improved higher-yield strains of glutinous rice became available from the Laotian National Rice Research Programme. By 1999, more than 70% of the area along the Mekong River Valley was of the newer strains. In China, according to legend, it has been known for at least 2,000 years,[2] and was used as an ingredient in mortar for bricks in the Great Wall of China, as confirmed by chemical tests.[3]

[edit] Constituents

Glutinous rice does not contain dietary gluten (i.e. does not contain glutenin and gliadin), and thus should be safe for gluten-free diets. What distinguishes it from other types of rice is 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][2]

Glutinous rice can be used either milled or unmilled (that is, with the bran removed or not removed). The former is white and the latter is black or purple.[citation needed] Either can be cooked as grains or ground into flour and cooked as a paste.

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