Q: The recipe for "KFC" Korean fried chicken wings from this week's (Jan. 30, 2013) Good Eating sounds very good, and I'd like to try it. Can you tell me if sweet rice flour is the same as non-glutinous rice flour? I have the former if that will work.
—Linda Doyne, Mundelein
A: Sweet rice flour and non-glutinous rice flour are not the same. But Chef Phillip Lopez of New Orleans' Root restaurant, creator of the chicken wings recipe, says you can substitute one for the other.
Non-glutinous rice flour is called "rice powder" in Chinese groceries and is known in Japanese as "joshinko," according to "Asian Ingredients" by Bruce Cost, the Asian food expert and ginger ale entrepreneur. Cost says non-glutinous rice flour is used to make all sorts of Asian rice noodles. The Japanese variety is "slightly more glutinous than the Chinese variety. It's used primarily for sweets,'' he writes.
Cost says Asian sweet pastries are sticky and chewy because they are made with glutinous rice flour, also known as sweet rice flour or sweet rice powder. It is also used to thicken sauces, according to "The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion."
I'm the type of cook who prefers to follow a recipe exactly the first time then, judging on the results, play around with ingredients once I get an idea of what the recipe author was going for. But, by all means, give the wings a go with the sweet rice flour. Tell me if you score or fumble with the substitution.
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