A rice paddle (aka rice spatula) is a large spoon, generally about 20 cm long (8 inches) altogether, with a somewhat flattened bowl at the end. The outside shape of the bowl can be oval or round.
The spoon is generally a one-piece item made from bamboo, wood, lacquered material or plastic. Some plastic ones are designed with non-stick surfaces.
It is used to stir cooked rice, particularly when mixing sushi-zu into sushi rice in Japanese cooking. This mixing must be done gently, almost like folding, so that the rice doesn’t get mashed.
They are not made of metal, as metal is more likely to cut through the soft grains of cooked rice, or damage the wooden bowl ( a “sushi-oke“) that the mixing is usually done in.
Rice Spatulas are also used to spread rice out onto sheets of nori (seaweed), and to serve rice into individual bowls for eating.
While using one for mixing sushi rice, dip the spatula frequently in tezu (vinegared water) to stop rice from sticking to it.