Rice flour (also rice powder) is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a particularly good substitute for wheat flour, which irritates the digestive system of some people. Rice flour is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.
In China, rice flour, called mǐ fěn (米粉), is used in a variety of dishes, notably different kinds of rice noodles, like mĭxiàn (米线), or fried noodles chǎo mǐ fěn (炒米粉).
In Japan, rice flour is called komeko (米粉) and is available two forms: glutinous and non-glutinous. The glutinous rice is also called sweet rice, but despite these names it is neither sweet nor does it contain gluten; the word "glutinous" is used to describe the stickiness of the rice when it is cooked. The glutinous variety called mochigomeko (もち米粉, or mochiko for short) is produced from ground cooked glutinous rice (もち米 mochigome) and is used to create mochi or as a thickener for sauces. Another variety called shiratamako (白玉粉) is produced from ground uncooked glutinous rice and is often used to produce confectioneries. The non-glutinous variety called jōshinko (上新粉) is made from short-grain rice and is primarily used for creating confectioneries.
In the Philippines, rice flour isn't traditionally prepared dry. Rather it is made by first soaking uncooked glutinous rice overnight (usually allowing it to slightly ferment) then grinding the results (traditionally with stone mills) into a rich and smooth viscous rice dough known as galapóng. It is the basis for numerous types of native rice cakes and desserts (kakanin) in native Filipino cuisine. Depending on the dish, coconut milk (gata), wood ash lye, and various other ingredients may be added to the galapóng. The galapóng can be prepared by baking, steaming, boiling, or frying, resulting in dishes like puto or bibingka.
Rice flour has a presence in South Indian cuisine. Some of the examples include dosa, puttu, golibaje (mangalore bajji) and kori rotti. It is also mixed with wheat, millet, other cereal flours, and sometimes dried fruits or vegetables to make Manni, a kind of baby food..
It is a regular ingredient in Bangladeshi cuisine, Bengali cuisine and Assamese cuisine. It is used in making roti and desserts such as sandesh and pitha (Rice cakes or pancakes which are sometimes steamed, deep fried or pan fried and served along with grated coconut, sesame seeds, jaggery and chashni). It is also used in making Kheer (a common South Asian dessert).
In Sri Lanka, it's used in making many household food products. It is used in making food products such as pittu, appa (hoppers), indi appa (string hoppers) and sweets such as kewum, kokis, athirasa and many more. Also it can be used in making bread and other bakery products.
Rice flour is known as pirinç unu in Turkish.
Rice flour is used in the cosmetics industry.
Brown rice flour can be combined with vermiculite for use as a substrate for the cultivation of mushrooms. Hard cakes of colonised substrate can then be fruited in a humid container. This method is often (though not always) employed by growers of edible mushrooms, as it is a very simple and low-cost method of growing mushrooms.
- Hosking, Richard (1997). A Dictionary of Japanese Food. Tuttle Publishing. p. 191. ISBN 9780804820424. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Alden, Lori (1996). "Cook's Thesaurus: Rice". Lori Allen. Retrieved 2006-03-02.
- 辻静雄 (2006). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Kodansha International. p. 70. ISBN 9784770030498. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan (2014). Memories of Philippine Kitchens. Abrams. ISBN 9781613128084.
- Japanese rice flours at Wagashi-net.de