Rice Dough

Rice dough is usually prepared by mixing together rice flour with hot water. Rice does not contain gluten. As a result, kneading the dough with ordinary water or oil results in a friable dough that will crumble when rolled out. However, adding the rice flour to hot water results in softer and pliable dough that sets when it is shaped and dries out quickly.


How to Make Rice Dough?

The actual consistency, taste and texture of rice dough will vary according to the rice flour and rice varieties that are used. For example, in Japan, two different kinds of rice flours are commonly used to make dumplings. Joushinko or Johshinko is made from ordinary Japanese rice while the other variety is made from Shiratamako or sweet rice flour. Other Asian countries  use local versions of rice flour that have been ground finely from white rice, boiled rice, parboiled rice, sweet rice, glutinous rice or even whole black rice. This will produce distinct differences in the taste, texture and shape of the dish. Popular cooking methods for rice dough include the following :

  • Rice flour is combined with water to make a smooth ball. Small balls of this dough are patted out and then filled or wrapped around a filling. This dough is steamed,  boiled, pan fried or deep fried.
  • Rice flour is combined with hot water to make a hot sticky paste. As the paste cools, it becomes easier to work with and can be molded or gently rolled out with oiled hands to make dumplings, flatbread etc. This dough version may be cooked again to complete the cooking process.
  • Raw rice may be soaked overnight and ground with a range of other ingredients like coconut, pepper, colocasia leaves etc. to make a thick batter-like dough. This dough is then wrapped in leaves and steamed, baked or simmered till done. 


Popular Rice Dough-based Dishes


Red Bean Rice Cakes are very auspicious sweetmeats that are prepared during the Chinese and Japanese New Year. Red beans are simmered with sugar and coconut milk to make thick paste. This paste is then stuffed into rice flour envelopes and steamed


Mitarashi dango or Japanese rice dough dumplings are made with two varieties of local rice. The rice flours are combined with salt and hot water to make a thick dough. This dough is then molded into balls, boiled and then grilled before serving. This dish is usually served with mitarashi sauce


Chinese dimsum rice dough coverings are made by combining glutinous rice flour with potato flour. The dough is then rolled out as fine as possible, filled with sweet and savory fillings and then deep-fried.


Korean rice cake or songpyeon is prepared by stuffing a mixture of roasted and powdered sesame seeds, sugar, mung beans and salt into a rice dough envelope. These are then shaped like half-moons and steamed. They are usually served at the Korean Harvest Festival or Chuseok


Indian rice dough is used in  multiple of ways.

  • In South Karnataka, the parboiled rice and black gram dal dough is used to make Sheedai or round dumplings that are steamed before serving.
  • Rice may be roughly ground to make rice rawa that is cooked in hot water to make rice dough. This granular dough is then shaped into dumplings and steamed again. Rice or Arisi Vathals are a similar dish but the rice is cooked in a lemon juice, salt and chili paste to create spicy dumplings.
  • Rice dough is combined with coconut and jaggery and then steamed to make sweet dumplings.
  • Rice paste is combined with colocasia leaves, spinach leaves, cumin and pepper and steamed to prepare Pathrade.


Rice Dough Trivia

It is advisable to use the exact rice dough that is advised in the recipe instructions. This is because different rice flours will produce doughs of different  consistencies, tastes and textures during the cooking process.