Glutinous rice

"Sticky rice" redirects here. For the Chinese rice dish, see Chinese sticky rice.
Uncooked glutinous rice from Thailand
Glutinous rice flour

Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice) is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia, which has opaque grains, very low amylose content, and is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (< Latin glūtinōsus)[1] in the sense of being glue-like or sticky, and not in the sense of containing gluten. While often called "sticky rice", it differs from non-glutinous strains of japonica rice which also become sticky to some degree when cooked. There are numerous cultivars of glutinous rice, which include japonica, indica, and tropical japonica strains.


In China, glutinous rice has been grown for at least 2,000 years.[2]


Glutinous rice is grown in Laos, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Northeast India, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. 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.


Glutinous rice is distinguished from other types of rice by having no (or negligible amounts of) amylose, and high amounts of amylopectin (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.[2][4]

Like all types of rice, glutinous rice does not contain dietary gluten (i.e. does not contain glutenin and gliadin), and should be safe for gluten-free diets.

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.[5] Black and purple glutinous rice are distinct strains from white glutinous rice. In developing Asia, there is little regulation, and some governments have issued advisories about toxic dyes being added to colour adulterated rice. Both black and white glutinous rice can be cooked as discrete grains, or ground into flour and cooked as a paste or gel.

Use in foods

Sticky rice is used in many recipes throughout Southeast and East Asia.


Sticky rice, called bora saul is the core component of Assamese sweets, snacks and breakfast. They are widely used in every kind of traditional sweets of Assam which are very different from traditional sweets of India of which basic component is milk.

Such traditional sweets in Assam are Pitha (Narikolor pitha, Til pitha, Ghila pitha, Tel pitha, Kettle pitha, etc.). Also, its powder form is used as breakfast or other light meal directly with milk. They are called Pitha guri (If powder was done without frying the rice, by just crushing it after soaking) or Handoh guri (If rice is dry fried first, and then crushed).

The soaked rice is also cooked with no added water inside a special kind of bamboo (called sunga saul bnaah). This meal is called sunga saul.

During religious ceremonies, Assamese people make Mithoi (Kesa mithoi and Poka mithoi) using Gnud with it. Sometimes Bhog, Payakh and Khir are also made from it using milk and sugar with it.

Different Assamese communities make rice beer from it which is preferred more than other rice, as it is sweeter and more alcoholic. They also offer this beer to their gods and ancestors (demi-gods). Rice cooked with it is also taken directly as lunch or dinner on rare occasions.


In Bangladesh specially in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet areas the sticky rice called bini dhan(unhusked sticky rice) is very popular. Both white and pink varieties are cultivated at many homestead farms. Husked sticky rice is called bini choil (chal) in some dialects. Boiled or steamed bini choil is called Bini Bhat. With meat or fish curry and grated coconut, Bini Bhat is a popular breakfast. Some times it is eaten with a splash of sugar, salt and coconut only without any curry. Bin dhan also used to make khoi (pop rice like pop corn) and chida (bitten husked rice). Apart of these many other sweet items made of bini choil are popular. One of the favorite pitas made of bini choil is atikka pita (pita).It is made with the mixture of cubed or small sliced coconut, sugar or brown sugar, ripe banana and bini choil wrapped with banana leaf and steamed. Another delicacy is Patishapta pita made of ground bini choil. Ground bini choil is sprayed over hot pan and mixture of grated coconut, sugar, milk powder and ghee sprayed over it and rolled out. Dumplings made of powdered fried bini choil called laru. First bini choil is fried and ground into flour. This flour is mixed with sugar or brown sugar, and ghee or butter and is made into small balls or dumplings. One kind of porridge or khir made of bini choil is called modhu (honey) bhat. This modhu bhat becomes naturally sweet without mixing any sugar. It is one of the delicacies of local people. To make modhu bhat first prepare some normal paddy or rice (dhan) for germination by soaking it in the water for few days. After coming out of little sprout dry the paddy and husk and grind the husked rice called jala choil into flour. It tastes sweet. Mixing this sweet flour with freshly boiled or steamed warm bini bhat and then fermenting the mixture overnight yields modhu bhat. It is eaten either on its own or with milk, jaggery or grated coconut.


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

Burmese glutinous rice dishes
Ngacheik paung with pèbyouk (boiled peas) and salted toasted sesame 
Hkaw bouk - dried cakes of ngacheik glutinous rice with Bombay duck, both fried 
Htamanè - glutinous rice with fried coconut, roasted peanuts, sesame and ginger 
The traditional way of making special glutinous rice htamanè is still practiced 
Si htamin - glutinous rice cooked in oil with turmeric and served with boiled peas and crushed salted sesame 
Mont lone yei baw - glutinous rice balls filled with jaggery, covered with shredded coconut - a New Year treat 
Paung din - glutinous rice, both purple and white varieties, cooked in bamboo tubes 
Paung din (ngacheik) with to hpu (Burmese tofu), mashed potato and urad dal fritters 


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

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 used as a thickener and for baking.

Glutinous rice or glutinous rice flour are both used in many Chinese bakery products and in many varieties of dim sum. They produce a flexible, resilient dough, which can take on the flavors of whatever other ingredients are added to it. Cooking usually consists of steaming or boiling, sometimes followed by pan-frying or deep-frying.

Sweet glutinous rice is eaten with red bean paste.

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

Zongzi (Traditional Chinese 糭子/糉子, Simplified Chinese 粽子) is a dumpling consisting of glutinous rice and sweet or savory fillings wrapped in large flat leaves (usually bamboo), which is then boiled or steamed. It is especially eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, but may be eaten at any time of the year. It is popular as an easily transported snack, or a meal to consume while traveling. It is a common food among Chinese in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Cifangao (Traditional Chinese 糍飯糕, Simplified Chinese 糍饭糕) is a popular breakfast food originating in Eastern China consisting of cooked glutinous rice compressed into squares or rectangles, and then deep-fried.[6] Additional seasoning and ingredients such as beans, zha cai, and sesame seeds maybe added into the rice for added flavour. It has a similar appearance and external texture to hash browns.

Cifantuan (Traditional Chinese 糍飯糰, Simplified Chinese 糍饭团) is another breakfast food consisting of a piece of youtiao tightly wrapped in cooked glutinous rice, with or without additional seasoning ingredients. Japanese onigiri resembles this Chinese food.

Lo mai gai (糯米雞) is a dim sum dish consisting of glutinous rice with chicken in a lotus-leaf wrap, which is then steamed. It is served as a dim sum dish in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.

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.

Chinese glutinous rice dishes
Glutinous zongzi rice dumplings, without and with bamboo leaf wrapping 
Glutinous rice ball dessert, filled with sesame paste 
Deep fried glutinous rice ball dumplings 
Fried slices of Shanghai Nian cake 
Chinese glutinous rice pancake or "Chinese pizza" 


A distinctive feature of Hakka cuisine is its variety of steamed snack-type buns, dumplings and patties made with a dough of coarsely ground rice, or ban. Collectively known as "rice snacks", some kinds are filled with various salty or sweet ingredients.

Common examples of rice snacks made with ban from glutinous or sticky rice and non-glutinous rice include Aiban (mugwort patty), Caibao (turnip bun)[This 'turnip' is not the Western turnip. The proper name is yam bean. [In Mandarin Chinese, it is known as dòushǔ(豆薯) or liáng shǔ (涼薯)] Ziba (sticky rice balls) and Bantiao (Mianpaban or flat rice noodles).

Aiban encompasses several varieties of steamed patties and dumplings of various shapes and sizes, consisting of an outer layer made of glutinous ban dough filled with salty or sweet ingredients. It gets its name from the aromatic ai grass (mugwort), which after being dried, powdered and mixed with the ban, gives the dough a green color and an intriguing tea-like taste. Typical salty fillings include ground pork, mushrooms and shredded white turnips. The most common sweet filling is made with red beans.

Caibao is a generic term for all types of steamed buns with various sorts of filling. Hakka-style caibao are distinctive in that the enclosing skin is made with glutinous rice dough in the place of wheat flour dough. Besides ground pork, mushrooms and shredded turnips, fillings may include ingredients such as dried shrimp and dry fried-shallot flakes.

Ziba is glutinous rice dough which, after steaming in a big container, is mashed into a sticky, putty-like mass from which small patties are formed and coated with a layer of sugary peanut powder. It has no filling.


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 binignit 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.


Glutinous rice is known as beras ketan or simply ketan in Java and most of Indonesia, and pulut in Sumatra. It is widely used as an ingredient for a wide variety of sweet, savoury or fermented snacks. Glutinous rice is used as either hulled grains or milled into flour. It is usually mixed with santan, meaning coconut milk in Indonesian, along with a bit of salt to add some taste. Glutinous rice is rarely eaten as staple. One example is lemang, which is glutinous rice and coconut milk cooked in bamboo stem lined by banana leaves. Glutinous rice is also sometimes used in a mix with normal rice in rice dishes such as nasi tumpeng or nasi tim. It is widely used during the Lebaran seasons as traditional food. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages such as tuak and brem bali.

Savoury snacks

Sweet snacks

Fermented snacks


In addition, glutinous rice dishes adapted from other cultures are easily available. Examples include kue moci (mochi, Japanese) and bacang (zongzi, Chinese).

Indonesian glutinous rice dishes
Lemper, glutinous rice filled with chicken wrapped in banana leaves 
Dodol made from coconut sugar and ground glutinous rice  
Bubur ketan hitam, black glutinous rice porridge with coconut milk and palm sugar 
Lemang topped with fermented tapai made of black glutinous rice 
Ketan served with durian sauce 
Uli bakar or grilled glutinous rice cube 
Cendil a Javanese cake made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and grated coconut 
Kue mochi derived from Chinese-Japanese mochi, made from glutinous rice flour 
Kue Lapis - Indonesian cake made mainly of glutinous rice 
Kue Lupis - Glutinous rice cake with grated coconut and liquid palm sugar 


Bubur pulut hitam, black glutinous rice porridge

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


Japanese glutinous rice dishes
Preparation of mochi in Japan 
Okowa (おこわ), sticky glutinous rice mixed with all kinds of vegetables or meat and steamed 

In Japan, glutinous rice is known as mochigome (Japanese: もち米). It is used in traditional dishes such as sekihan, okowa, and ohagi. It may also be ground into mochiko (もち粉), a rice flour used to make mochi (もち), a traditional rice cake prepared for the Japanese New Year but also eaten year-round. See also Japanese rice.


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).


A Lao rice basket

Glutinous rice is the main rice eaten in Laos (see Lao cuisine), 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 basket or houat (Lao: ຫວດ). 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 tip khao (Lao: ຕິບເຂົ້າ). 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 khoua (Lao:ເຂົ້າຄົ່ວ) to add a nut-like flavor to many dishes. A popular Lao meal is a combination of Lao grilled chicken ping kai (Lao:ປີ້ງໄກ່), Lao papaya salad tam mak houng (Lao:ຕຳໝາກຫູ່ງ), and Lao sticky rice (khao niao). Khao Niao has also been used for preparing a popular dish from Laos called Naem Khao (or Laotian crispy rice salad). It is made with deep-fried sticky rice balls, chunks of Lao-style fermented pork sausage called som moo, chopped peanuts, grated coconut, sliced scallions or shallots, mint, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, and other ingredients. 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 tôm (Lao:ເຂົ້າຕົ້ມ) is a steamed mixture of khao niao with sliced fruits and coconut milk.


In Thailand, glutinous rice is known as khao niao (Thai: ข้าวเหนียว; lit. "sticky rice") in central Thailand and Isan, and as khao nueng (Thai: ข้าวนึ่ง; lit. "steamed rice") in northern Thailand.[7] Northern Thais (Lanna people) and northeastern Thais traditionally eat glutinous rice as their staple food. Southern and central Thais, and northeastern Thais from Surin Province and neighboring areas influenced by the Khmer-Thai people favor non-sticky khao chao.

Thai glutinous rice dishes
A packet of glutinous rice in a traditional Isan banana-leaf wrapper 
Kin khao niao 
Naem khluk or yam naem khao thot 
Khao tom mat, sticky rice and banana steamed inside a banana leaf 
Som tam (papaya salad), khao niao (sticky rice) and kai yang (grilled chicken) 
Khao lam in a section of bamboo 
Yam naem, a salad with naem sausage made from raw pork fermented with glutinous rice 
Kratip (Thai: กระติบ) are used by northern and northeastern Thais as containers for sticky rice 
Chin som mok, northern Thai specialty, grilled pork skin fermented with glutinous rice 
Sai krok Isan specialty of northeastern Thailand 


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:

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


Non-food uses

According to legend, glutinous rice 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 Xi'an.[23] In Assam also, this rice was used for building palaces during Ahom rule.

Glutinous rice starch is often used as a vegetarian glue or adhesive.

See also


  1. Oxford English Dictionary. glutinous, a. SECOND EDITION 1989. Online edition. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
  2. 1 2 "NC State Geneticists Study Origin, Evolution of "Sticky" Rice" (Press release). 21 October 2002.
  3. Delforge, Isabelle (2001). "Laos at the crossroads".
  4. Kenneth M. Olsen and Michael D. Purugganan (1 October 2002). "Molecular evidence on the origin and evolution of glutinous rice". Genetics. 162 (2): 941–950. PMC 1462305Freely accessible. PMID 12399401.
  5. Kenneth F. Kiple, Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas. The Cambridge World History of Food. p. 143.
  6. 粢饭糕
  7. Khao nueng - Lanna Food | Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai University Library
  8. [Thaifoodmaster] Tutorial – How to Make Fermented Thai Pork Sausage (แหนมหมู ; naem moo)
  9. Chin som - Lanna Food | Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai University Library
  10. Thai Fermented Sausages from the Northeast (Sai Krok Isan ไส้กรอกอีสาน) - SheSimmers
  11. "Sweet Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream and Black Beans*(khao niao tat)". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  12. "ข้าวเหนียวหน้ากระฉีก". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  13. "Thai food". Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  14. "Khao chi preparation". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  15. Bangkok Post 11/12/2008 - Traditional snacks for health
  16. "Sticky Rice with Bananas". 2005-09-29. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  17. Desserts in Thailand – Thai Grilled Sticky Rice – Banana or Taro (Khao Niao Ping) Archived May 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. "Madam Mam Articles". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  19. "Sticky Rice Ball". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  20. "Kaeng Khae Hoi (snail curry)". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  21. Rice powder recipe, toasted rice powder, roasted rice powder, khao khua
  22. Naem Khao Tod - Crispy Rice Salad with Soured Pork
  23. Xinhua News Agency (27 February 2005). "Sticky porridge used to cement ancient walls".
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