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I have two children under four and the little one (15 months) likes rice a lot but he has trouble eating it because the grains separate, making it difficult to pick up with his uncoordinated fingers.

To help with this, I was thinking that I could make my normal (long grain) rice stickier than it usually is and press it into small balls that would hold their shape. I'm not, to be clear, trying to make "sticky rice", necessarily... just regular rice that will clump more easily and hold up to a little handling when made into balls.

It seems like there may be a few ways to go about this:

  • don't rinse the rice (or rinse less) - I generally rinse 3 times or so
  • add a little extra water (how much extra?)
  • give up on long grain and switch to short or medium
  • use water only (I often add stock in place of some of the water)

I use a "fancy" rice maker, a Zojirushi with "fuzzy logic" and I'd like to use that because I do whole meals (I add vegetables and chicken to the rice cooker and steam everything together).

So am I on the right track? How can I make this work?

  • Another method used to make long grain more sticky is to soak it, up to 1/2 hour before cooking. I have used this in trying to get rice to behave more like sushi rice. – dlb Jan 31 at 15:18
  • Oh, that's interesting... and the rice maker has a timed cook function so that you can prep it ahead of time... so I could do that pretty easily. – Catija Jan 31 at 15:19
  • I have not tried that with stock where the fat may tie up with the starch and I would tend to not rinse or rinse only lightly to not lose the starch, but update us in that helps with stock too. – dlb Jan 31 at 15:29
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Those are all good ideas, and will work together.

For "use more water", what you really want is to use more water but not end up with wetter or softer rice. (For rice I want to be sticky I'll generally use about 1.25 volumes of water to one volume of rinsed and drained rice, but this will vary widely with cooker and amount of rice.) A good way to do that is to stop cooking after the prescribed length of time rather than when your rice cooker detects that all the water is gone, and then spread the rice out on a plate immediately after cooking, to promote evaporation. (You can also do stuff with stirring and fans - check out videos of preparing sushi rice - but it's probably not necessary.)

I've never gotten rice to be sticky if made with stock or any sort of fat.

Long grain rice won't be as sticky as short grain rice, but it won't be far off either.

Finally, if you just want to cheat, sprinkle some rice flour in with the rice. Like not rinsing, but arbitrarily moreso.

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  • +1 for rice flour, works a treat. – Will Crawford Feb 3 at 11:51
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If the starch of unrinsed rice isn't enough - you can always add starch water solution, or honey but the latter is a more acquired taste.

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