Pagoda rice steamed in lotus leaf

Pagoda rice steamed in lotus leaf

The Food of Vietnam
Alan Benson

Originally from Hue, this dish was served to emperors who demanded creative gourmet dishes for every meal. It is now cooked at temples throughout the country, as the lotus is rich in Buddhist symbolism.


Quantity Ingredient
12 lotus seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
100g green peas
100g carrot, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
740g jasmine rice, cooked and chilled
2 small fresh lotus leaves
1 lotus flower, to garnish (optional)
soy sauce, for dipping
red chilli, sliced, to serve


  1. Simmer the lotus seeds in a small saucepan of water for 10 minutes. Drain, allow to cool briefly, then remove them from their shells.
  2. Heat a frying pan or wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the lotus seeds and vegetables for 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil, then stir-fry the rice for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Lay one lotus leaf inside a large bowl, putting the rough side of the leaf down first, followed by the other leaf. Arrange the stir-fried vegetables on top of the lotus leaves, spreading them out evenly.
  5. Now scoop the fried rice into the bowl, over the arranged vegetables. Fold the lotus leaves over to enclose the rice, then press down firmly until flat.
  6. Half-fill a steamer, wok or large saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Place the lotus leaf parcel in its bowl in the steamer, then cover and steam for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the bowl from the steamer, then turn the lotus leaf parcel upside down onto a serving plate. With a sharp knife, carefully make two long cuts on the first layer of lotus leaf, from corner to corner crisscrossing each other, then peel the four sections back. Repeat with the bottom lotus leaf. You should be left with eight triangular leaf sections folded back, exposing the vegetables and rice.
  8. Garnish with a lotus flower, if desired, and serve with a side dipping sauce of soy sauce and sliced red chilli.
The Food of Vietnam
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