Glutinous rice flour (糯米粉, nuo mi fen) is made from glutinous rice (also called sticky rice or sweet rice).
Glutinous rice flour is commonly used in Chinese desserts and snacks. Examples include, tangyuan (boiled glutinous rice balls filled with sesame paste), fried glutinous rice ball dumplings, and glutinous rice cakes with red bean paste.
Dough made from glutinous rice flour becomes sticky in texture when heated. Although called glutinous flour, it is actually gluten free. However, if you are gluten intolerant, you should look for the variety specifically labeled as gluten free.
When you shop for glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour), make sure you choose the type that is milled from long grain sweet rice, as this is for grilling and baking. The texture is stiff and will form a very crispy surface when heated. The type made from short grain rice is also called mochiko and is often used to make cold desserts, such as Japanese mochi. A package of flour labeled “glutinous rice flour” could be made from long grain or short grain rice. Pay extra attention to this detail when you shop for it.