Sticky rice is one of those great joys of Asian cuisine that people love across the globe, but may not fully understand. What makes it sticky? How does it differ from regular white rice? Where does it come from and is it supposed to be that sticky?
As huge fans of glutinous rice, which is sticky rice’s formal name, we’re here to clear up a few things. For starters, sticky rice is distinct from common white rice; it’s not merely a different preparation. It’s a short grain variety of rice grown in South East Asia. While many types of short grain rice may be lumped together with and called “sticky rice,” true glutinous rice is a separate breed, and it all boils down to a component of starch. Glutinous rice contains just one component of starch, called amylopectin, while other kinds of rice contain both molecules that make up starch: amylopectin and amylose. There’s more to it than that, of course — namely that it’s amazingly fun to eat.