Ask the experts: Glutinous rice

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Ask the experts: Glutinous rice

Q: "Rice is gluten-free, so what is 'glutinous rice'?"


A: Nutritionist and chef Bronwen King responds:

"You are correct; all rice is gluten-free and therefore safe for people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. Glutenous rice is a type of short-grain Asian rice that is very sticky when cooked. The word 'glutinous' refers not to gluten, but to the fact that the cooked rice is 'glue-like'. Records show that in the past it was even used as a key ingredient for making the brick mortar in the Great Wall of China. Today it is very popular in Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China and Laos, particularly for rice cakes, dumplings and desserts.

All rice has a high starch content; it is the type of starch that gives it certain characteristics. Starch is made up of two components, amylose and amylopectin. Glutinous rice has high amounts of amylopectin, which is responsible for it being sticky when cooked."

First published: Oct 2008
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