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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 causes irritation in the digestive systems of those who are gluten-intolerant. Rice flour is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.
In Japanese, 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 its name 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 non-glutinous variety called jōshinko (上新粉) is made from short-grain rice and is primarily used for creating confectioneries. 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 (pictured) 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.
Many dishes are made from rice flour, including rice noodles and desserts like Japanese mochi and Filipino cascaron. Vietnamese banh canh uses rice flour. Rice flour is used in making General Tso's chicken, neer dosa, golibaje (Mangalore bajji), mantou, and rotti. The flour is mixed with wheat, millet, other cereal flours, and sometimes dried fruits or vegetables to make manni, a kind of baby food. This is commonly made in the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi of Karnataka, India. It is a regular ingredient in Bangladeshi cuisine and is used in many rotis and desserts such as shondesh and bhapa phitha (steamed rice cakes). It is also used in Iranian Kheer (a common South Asian dessert).
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.
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