A rice paddle, also known as a "shamoji" is an important part of the sushi-making process. It is a flat utensil, usually wooden but sometimes plastic, that is used to mix vinegar rice and transfer the vinegar rice from the bowl to the dried seaweed or nori. Rice paddles are usually made out of wood so that they can absorb any excess moisture left on the vinegar rice or sushi rice. Bamboo rice paddles are traditional, but nowadays plastic and stainless steel rice paddles are becoming more popular, partly because they are easier to clean and less likely to mold.
A rice paddle is traditionally used for mixing the sushi rice in the hangiri or handai - the rice bowl - but it is also ideal for serving rice at the tabletop. In fact, disposable rice spoons are available for just that purpose, and many restaurants may choose to provide take-out and delivery customers with a plastic paddle along with the box or container of rice. Its flat shape helps to ensure that it will not mush the rice during service.