Thursday, September 30, 2010

sticky rice

Ellen Says: Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, and pearl rice is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked.

It is called glutinous 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.

Glutinous rice is a type of rice grown in Laos, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. An estimated 85% of Laotian rice production is of this type.Records of this rice go back at least 1,100 years, in this region.

The improved rice varieties that swept through Asia during the Green Revolution were non-glutinous and Laotian farmers rejected them in favor of their traditional sticky varieties. Over time, higher-yield strains of glutinous rice have become available from the Laotian National Rice Research Programme.

By 1999, more than 70% of the area along the Mekong River Valley were of these newer strains. In China, glutinous rice has been grown for at least 2,000 years. According to legend, it was used to make the mortar in the construction of the Great Wall of China, and chemical tests have confirmed that this is true for the city walls of Xian. It is used in recipes throughout Southeast and East Asia.

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 proper - is generally preferred as this removes the unpleasant powdery texture found in glutinous rice which has been dried first and then converted to 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 then dried, then the grains are poured into a banana leaf cone or coconut leaf wrapper and steamed. It may be mixed with sugar, coconut milk, or other grains such as millet.

Malagkit is also used in puto, or steamed rice dumplings, of which numerous variations exist.
A general term for sweet rice cake, bibingka mainly consists of glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk.

Bibingka is often associated with the Philippine Christmas season. In tandem with the bibingka's role in Philippine Christmas tradition is the 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 snack very 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, arroz caldo, are all variants of rice porridge dishes featuring glutinous rice mixed with normal rice.

Bilo-bilo is another dish that uses glutinous rice. It is a sweet, thick soup that has coconut milk, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, plantain, sago pearls, and the bilo - or galapong shaped into gummy balls.

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