Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Regular Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour

What I learned this weekend: When a recipe calls for Glutinous Rice Flour, use Glutinous Rice Flour. Do not, I repeat, do not, look in your pantry and see that all you have is regular rice flour and think everything will be alright if you use that instead. 

What’s the worst that can happen if you swap one for the other, you ask? Well, you may just end up visiting a dentist. Once regular rice flour is fried, it hardens like a rock.  I tried to make Sesame Rice Balls, a delicious fried Chinese/Vietnamese pastry. I gave no thought when I substituted glutinous rice flour with regular Rice Flour. The result? It was bad. Real bad. I couldn’t bite into the pastry at all. The whole batch went straight into the trash…with a loud thud.

So what’s the difference between Glutinous Rice Flour and Regular Rice Flour? It’s what the name suggests. Glutinous Rice Flour is thick and sticky once cooked. In a dough, it’s malleable and easy to work with. Regular Rice Flour hardens like a brick once cooked. In dough form, it is brittle, making it impossible to encase any type of filling.

Recipes can call for a combination of the two, with most being Glutinous Rice Flour and a few teaspoons of Regular Rice Flour. The Regular Rice Flour is to make a thin crusty outer layer and you just need a little of it.

I am going back to the kitchen to attack the recipe again with full vengeance. I will be armed and ready with my Glutinous Rice Flour.