Type of Rice Flour Used in Japanese Cooking

In the previous article, I mentioned the different types of rice and starches, α and β starches, etc.
Type of Japanese Rice and Science of Starch
There are two main types of rice used for rice flour. I researched the types and the properties of each starch.

In this article, I classify the different types of rice flour and take a closer look at their properties and uses.
In this next post, I introduce the types of rice flour you can buy overseas and a recipe for dango.
Types of Rice Flour Overseas and Dango Dumpling Recipe
You can make Dango, Japanese rice dumplings by using rice flour and glutinous rice flour, which is sold at Asian markets.

Classifying Rice Flour

In a word, rice flour can be divided into various types depending on the ingredients and manufacturing method.


Urachi rice is used to make joshin-ko, while Shiratama-ko and Mochi-ko are made from glutinous rice.
Commercial dango-ko is a mixture of mochi-ko and joshin-ko, and is made from both glutinous rice and uruchi rice.

Processing Method

There are two types of flour: one is processed from raw rice, and the other is processed after the rice is heated.
The starch in processed raw rice is β-starch. It does not taste good on its own and needs to be heated before eating.
The starch in processed cooked rice is α-starch. It is a starch that has been gelatinized, so it can be eaten without heating.

There are two ways to process it: directly into flour or by adding water and extracting only the starch.
Joshin-ko and mochi-ko is made by grinding raw rice into flour. Shiratama-ko is made by soaking raw rice in water, grinding it in a mortar, and extracting the starch from the rice.

Cooking Methods

Glutinized products can be eaten without heating.
Raw flour products need to be boiled or steamed.
Joshin-ko is made from uruchi rice. When making dango, rice dumplings with joshin-ko, it is kneaded in hot water, steamed, and then kneaded well to make the dumplings sticky.
On the other hand, Shiratama-ko is made from glutinous rice. To make Shiratama dango, chewy rice dumplings using Shiratama-ko, simply knead it in water and boil it.

I think the difference in cooking method comes from the difference in the properties of amylose and amylopectin.
Uruchi rice contains about 20% amylose. Compared to amylopectin, amylose is less sticky, does not absorb water as easily, and has a higher glutination temperature. So it would need to be kneaded in hot water to absorb enough water, and then steamed to heat the whole product for a long time, and then knead again.

List of Rice Flour

Here is a list of rice flours with the above information plus their uses.

上新粉Joshin-koUruchi riceβsteamDango dumpling, Suama 
上用粉Joyo-koUruchi riceβsteamJoyo dumplingfiner joshin-ko
もち粉Mochi-koGlutious riceβboilGyuhi 
白玉粉Shiratama-koGlutious riceβboilShiratama dumpling 
団子粉Dango-koUruchi rice + Glutious riceβboilDango dumplingthe ratio depends
道明寺粉Domyoji-koGlutious riceα Sakura mochi 
みじん粉Mijin-koGlutious riceα higashi, dried sweets 
寒梅粉Kanbai-koGlutious riceα higashi, dried sweets 
上南粉Jonan-koGlutious riceα higashi, dried sweets 

Do You Know Mochi?

There is one thing that I must insist on.

Do you know mochi? What kind of food is it? If it’s ice cream wrapped in a glutinous crust, it’s not mochi!!

Mochi is a soft, smooth and chewy lump of rice made by kneading and pounding steamed glutinous rice.

Mochi is a soft, smooth lump of rice made by churning steamed glutinous rice. The ice cream wrapped in a glutinous crust that is often sold as mochi overseas is yukimi daifuku.

I love mochi. Of course, the texture is unfamiliar to people overseas, and I know that many people don’t like it. However, I am proud of Japanese food. So, I want people to understand mochi and Yukimi Daifuku correctly.


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