Sticky rice in lotus leaves

Sticky rice in lotus leaves

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

The lotus is an incredible plant. In sweltering August, ladies harvest the heads from plants in beautiful lotus fields in Jiangxi — these are sold for their fresh seeds as a snack. The flower is legendarily gorgeous and the lotus root, with its refreshing, crunchy texture, is often used in salads, soups, stir-fries and desserts. The dried leaves are used as a food wrapping, imparting a special fragrance, as here in this classic southern dish.


Quantity Ingredient
650g glutinous rice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried shrimp
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil, plus extra for brushing
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh, trimmed and cut into 1 cm pieces
2 chinese pork sausages, chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornflour
3 dried lotus leaves
2 duck egg yolks, cooked, salted and coarsely chopped


  1. Put the rice in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, cover with water and soak for 4 hours. Drain well. Put the rice in a steamer lined with a tea towel, place the steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water, then cover and steam for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dried shrimp and mushrooms in separate heatproof bowls, cover each with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain well, reserving 60 ml of the mushroom liquid. Chop the shrimp and mushrooms.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over a medium heat, then add the chicken, sausages, mushrooms and shrimp and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the remaining soy sauce, the oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil and toss to combine. Combine the cornflour and reserved mushroom liquid in a small bowl, then add to the mixture in the wok and cook, stirring, until the liquid boils and thickens. Transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Place the dried lotus leaves in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until softened. Drain well and cool. Cut the lotus leaves in half crosswise. Divide the rice into six even portions. Place a half lotus leaf on the work surface, dark green side up, and brush the middle of the leaf with some peanut oil. Take a portion of the rice and press it over the middle of the leaf to form a 13 cm square. Place about a sixth of the chicken mixture along the middle of the rice, then put a few pieces of the egg yolk on top; use your hands to roll the rice around the filling to form a cylinder. Wrap the rice cylinder tightly in the leaf, bringing the sides of the leaf over the filling, then roll up firmly to enclose. Using kitchen string or the ties that sometimes come with the leaves, tie the lotus leaf packages at both ends and around the length to secure. Repeat the process with the remaining leaves, rice, chicken mixture and egg yolk. Place the packages in a steamer, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
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