Glutinous rice: characteristics, preparation and recipe

Glutinous rice is a widely used dish in Asian cuisine. How do you prepare? What are its main characteristics? Find out!

Last update: September 15, 2021

Glutinous rice is native to Asia. It is named for how sticky it becomes when cooked. It is a common ingredient in countries like Thailand, Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, and Japan.

It has different varieties, which can be found from purple to black. However, what stands out from these is the proportion of peel that they retain. Are you interested in knowing more about it? Discover other features and how to prepare it.

Glutinous Rice Nutrition Facts

Glutinous rice has this property due to its high content of amylopectin and its low amylose concentration. Amylopectin is a polysaccharide, that is, a molecule made up of a lot of sugar. In addition, it is one of the components of starch.

Its structure has branches with glucose units. In other words, with sugars. In turn, it is partially soluble in hot water. According to information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), other nutritional properties are the following:

  • 76.6 grams of water.
  • 97 kilocalories.
  • 21.1 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 2 grams of protein.
  • 0.19 grams of fat (so it contains almost no).
Glutinous rice is used in a wide variety of oriental dishes.

Traditional use of glutinous rice

Glutinous rice is used throughout Asia as an ingredient in cooking. However, the use is different in each area. We explain how they cook it in each place.


In China, glutinous rice is known as «Nuòmi». There it is served cooked, as an accompaniment to meat and sausage dishes. It is also used as a traditional food for the festivities of the first lunar month, since the rice balls resemble the full moon.

It is also served in the form of dim sum. It consists of several small dishes, almost always one bite, which are the tradition of that country. They can be salty, sweet, boiled, steamed. Also cooked on the grill or fried.


In Japan they call it "Mochigome" or Mochi. It is a traditional rice cake that is used with savory dishes. In this dish, the rice is cooked and an elastic mass is formed with which the cake is formed. Outside of Japan it is used only for desserts. Its preparation is also made with glutinous rice flour, also called "sweet rice flour."

Northern Thailand and Laos

In these areas it is served steamed after soaking the rice for several hours. Banana leaves or wicker baskets are used in its cooking. When cooked, it is stirred to form balls, and then eaten with the right hand only.

The balls are used as bread, to soak in Thai sauces. Therefore, no salt or any flavoring is used during its preparation. They use it as a staple food almost all of Asia.

How to prepare glutinous rice?

We will explain how this cooked rice is prepared. Then, we will give you a recipe so you can eat it oriental style. The basic thing you will need is half a kilo of glutinous rice and water.

  • To start, you need to soak the rice for 8 hours. Put it in a bowl and cover with water.
  • When it is soft, wash with a lot of water. Clear water should come out.
  • Next, steam the rice for 15 minutes. Mix well and cook for 15 more minutes. In total, the steaming time is half an hour.
  • Next, put on a tray and separate well so that the steam comes out. Of course, you should not let the rice cool down completely.
  • Roll into a ball and voila. Serve it!

If you want to do it in a traditional way, you will need a cylindrical bamboo basket. It is important that it is taller than it is wide. When it's really wet, put the hydrated rice in there. There should be no grains on the sides. Fit the basket into a pot filled with boiling water.

Glutinous rice is used in both sweet and savory recipes. In addition, it is usually accompanied with Thai sauces.

How to prepare mochis japanese style

To prepare it you will need the following:

  • Rice flour.
  • Water.
  • Sugar or sweetener
  • Cornstarch.


  • Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Add water little by little to stir the dough. This should be very moist and homogeneous.
  • Use paper film to cover the mixture and heat in a microwave oven for two minutes on high power. As it heats up, it will gain texture.
  • When you remove it from the microwave, stir well. Knead vigorously as it becomes harder and more elastic.
  • Cover with the paper film Transparent bowl and microwave for two minutes. Take out and knead again. Repeat until the dough is shiny. At that point, the dough should be elastic.
  • After obtaining this result, put the dough in a mortar to crush. Put starch so that it does not stick and integrates well.
  • Work the dough with your hands to achieve a perfect texture. You can add food coloring to achieve a different color, but make sure it is well spread.
  • Divide the dough into pieces of the same size, so that there are several balls.
  • Flatten to put the rice filling and close into a perfect ball. The filling can be anything you can think of, although it is usually rice.
  • Sprinkle starch on the surface so it doesn't dry out.

Of course, there are other ways to prepare and consume sticky rice. In any case, the ideal is to prepare it the night before, since it takes about 8 hours of soaking to obtain a good result. Do you dare to try it?