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May 24, 2008 07:19 PM

Sticky Rice Substitute

I noticed that one group on TC had trouble finding sticky rice at Whole Foods.

I had a very similar problem and was directed by the staff at Whole Foods to buy the sushi rice because they said it was the same as sticky rice. I steamed it wrapped in cheesecloth on a rack in a wok. The resulting "sticky rice" was anything but sticky and i noticed that the TC guys had the same problem.

What is the type of rice that makes proper sticky rice and how do you make it so that it is appropriately sticky?

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  1. There really isn't a sustitute for sticky rice. You need a sticky rice from NE Thailand or Laos. Japanese sushi rice is no substitute. Your cooking method should be OK.

    1. It's usually labeled "glutinous" rice. Though I haven't looked for it at Whole Foods, I'm not surprised that they wouldn't carry it. You probably need to go to an Asian food store for this.

      1. Hi chicqail,

        If there is an Asian market near, look for a bag of sweet rice, mochi rice, or pearl rice. They are all the same family of glutinous rices.

        If they aren't available, then jasmine rice is the closest substitute.

        With any of these rices, rinse 3-4 times with cold water. Cover the rice with 2-3 inches of cold water, and soak for 6-8 hours. Drain, but DO NOT rinse. Then, either cook in a rice steamer, or use the cheesecloth method that you used earlier.

        Hope this helps. BTW, since pearl rice is now so expensive here in Portland, I use jasmine rice for my sticky rice needs.


        7 Replies
        1. re: AndyP

          Andy, is there another different type of jasmine rice that I don't know about? Because jasmine rice is probably the furthest thing (next to basmati) I would think of from sticky rice. I'd say that sushi rice is a much better substitute than jasmine.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Hi Miss Needle,

            Sushi rice, (aka pearl rice, mentioned above in my original post) is probably the best for sticky rice.

            Absent the posted choices of rice, I've had amazing luck making sticky rice using jasmine with the methodolgy given.

            BTW, learned about using jasmine from an old friend when I was living in Tokyo.


            1. re: AndyP

              I think that chicgail is looking for something stickier than pearl rice as the rice she was describing in her original post sounds like pearl rice. While sticky enough for sushi, it's very different from what I think she's looking for. Your jasmine sticky rice method sounds very intriguing, though.

          2. re: AndyP

            Andy, yes, I agree with Needle. Using a high amylose Indica to end up with sticky rice (similar to what is eaten in NE Thailand and Laos) is surprising.

            1. re: AndyP

              Thanks Andy, Needle and Sam. It am in a major metropolitan area and will just make a stop in an Asian neighborhood to find real sticky rice. I'm also not sure that I followed Andy's recommendations for the rinsing/soaking steps. I will next time.

              1. re: chicgail

                Not sure what you are making but sticky rice comes in both short grain and long grain in a white rice form. Also from either Thailand or Vietnam as a black form.

                I have made a rice roll (Taiwan style) using both black and white sticky rice. They are label as glutinous rice.

                I guess an easy way to really tell if you have the right rice is when cooked it is soft at room temperature. While normal long/medium grain rices are hard at room temperature.

              2. re: AndyP

                'Sweet rice/mochi rice/pearl rice are NOT sticky rice. No where close.
                Look for a bag that says "Glutinous rice". Take the bag over to a bag of 'sweet rice' and look through the see-through plastic window. Hopefully there will be a window on the bags. Compare the appearance of each type of rice. BIG difference.
                If in doubt ask some one. If they claim both 'sweet rice' and 'sticky rice' are the same leave the store and find another.

              3. i'm from the philippines and we have a local rice we use making rice cakes and other filipino dishes. they're not long grained though but sticky it really is. Most filipino stores carry them, we call them "malagkit" which means sticky. I wanted to make spam masubi cuz my kids love them and thought it will be cheaper if i just lmake it at home. I was looking for a sticky rice substitute wheen i came across this website. I haven't tried it yet but will try this just in case.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mamarie

                  Malagkit is great for suman, but sushi rice is actually what you want for spam musubi.

                  1. re: mamarie

                    Is it okay to use malagkit in making sushi rice?