Mar 05

Lo Mai Gai {Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken}




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Oh man, the more I delve into the recipes of my homeland, the more I miss the food, from wanton noodles to kaya toasts, sizzling hot plate tofu to all my dim sum favourites. Among those favourites is the lo mai gai, a steamed sticky rice parcel mixed with dark soy sauce, fragrant Chinese sausage, chicken, dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms. The combination of these additions can vary from restaurant to restaurant, but the basics remain the same. Some places stick with authenticity and wrap their rice parcels in lotus leaves. The purpose of the leaf is to impart a distinct fragrance to the dish, much like how pandan leaves give Lipitor canadian cost its signature aroma. But I understand that certain things like lotus leaves, while abundantly available in Asian countries, may not be so common overseas. Even if you can find them they’d probably cost a lot (but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do it coz you know it will be worth your while in the end). Cooking lo mai gai without the lotus leaf is fine … just make sure the rest of your seasonings are spot on.



Lo mai gai comes in two distinct versions: the white and the dark. Both share a similar method of preparation but the dark one just has more sauce, and the juices from the Shiitake mushrooms also help colour the rice to a luscious deep brown.



Today’s recipe comes from Things We Like blog. I don’t pretend to know how to make this recipe on my own, so I am going to teach myself with the her help. I have never cooked with glutinous rice before, hence I suspect this will be an interesting day in the kitchen. Her recipe looked easy enough; to be honest I didn’t expect making lo mai gai to be that straightforward. Doesn’t look like there will me much chance of screwing this up. Just to be extra sure of myself, I did a test run last night in order to familiarize myself with the “inner workings” of cooking with glutinous rice. I added too much water to the rice the first time round and almost burned down my kitchen because the water boiled dry in my makeshift steamer. Didn’t burn the pot too badly. Anyway, lets get on with the recipe shall we? My friend Sylvia is eagerly waiting for this post to go live, then she can make this for herself too.




Lo Mai Gai  {Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken}  (makes 2)

(adapted from Things We Like)


– 1½ cups glutinous rice

– 1 chicken thigh fillet

– 1 sweet Chinese pork sausage (lap cheong)

– 2 tsp dried prawns

– 2 large dried mushrooms or 4 small ones



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– 1 tbsp oyster sauce

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– 2 tsp sesame oil

– dash of 5-spice powder

– ½ tsp grated ginger

– 4 tbsp water




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The rice needs to be soaked prior to use … about six hours. The best would be to soak it overnight so you can forget about it until it is time to get cooking. Same goes for the dried mushrooms.


The next day you will need to prep the chicken thighs. You don’t need a lot because this is after all a small brunch portion, so you will only use perhaps a quarter or half a chicken thigh per bowl. Marinate with the sauce ingredients and set aside for about ten minutes.




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Then pan fry the chicken for a minute per side. Your objective is only to sear the outside and not cook the chicken 100%. The rest of the cooking will take place with the rice in the steamer.



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Cut the chicken into quarters, slice the mushroom in half, slice up the sausage on the bias. Then place all these ingredients at the bottom of a steel bowl … arrange them in a pleasing manner, keeping in mind how you want the ingredients to look once you flip the rice over to unmould.



 Always remember to OIL the bowl before adding the ingredients! 



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Pour some of the leftover sauce from the chicken marinade over the ingredients … about a tablespoon each. Then gently spoon in the glutinous rice over the ingredients and smooth it out. Pour in some water, just about the rice line. Glutinous rice does not need a lot of water to cook … so long as there is enough heat and water in the steamer it will cook thoroughly. My test run portion last night was far too mushy and not very pleasant on the tongue.


As a side note, for the life of me I have no idea why the packet calls this Thai sweet rice, because let me tell you this rice is far from sweet. It may be because this rice is used to make many sweet desserts in south Asian countries, but don’t be fooled … you still have to add sugar for that to happen. On its own this rice tastes as bland as normal steamed rice does, just so you know.



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Steam on medium-high for about 20 – 30 mins,. There is no need to wrap the bowl with foil or baking paper. Make sure you have enough water in there for the entire cooking process otherwise the pot could run dry and, like me, have your kitchen fill with smoke. So don’t walk away from your pot for too long. Check it in fifteen minute intervals.



Once the cooking time is up, turn off the heat and remove the bowl carefully. Place a serving plate over the bowl and flip it to unmould. If you had oiled the bowl properly the rice should simply slip out in once piece. Garnish with chives and fried shallots. Serve immediately. Yummy, brunch is served!



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This is actually quite a big portion that I have made. In restaurants the rice would come in half the size because customers would obviously be ordering other goodies off the dim sum trolley. Also, glutinous rice is rather filling; I ate just this one for lunch and towards the end I was kinda struggling … but it was worth every mouthful. The only thing missing was a pot of good old fashioned Chinese tea.



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I am feeling rather pleased with myself now because I have succeeded in making something I’ve never dreamt of making at home before, and the results were spectacular! Need to thank Things We Like blog for sharing the recipe online, thus helping me achieving success today. I love it when I nail recipes without major wipeout episodes in between. It’s a real confidence booster and I now feel like I can go on to bigger and better things … until of course the next crash and burn happens. For now I dedicate this recipe to my gal pal Sylvia, whom I hope will make this for herself and feel as happy as I am right now when she achieves her own success.



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It’s nice to know that there are famous home recipes that aren’t as daunting as I perceived them to be … therefore, you should try this out and treat yourself to a true classic. Yum yums! If you prefer a darker version of this dish then add a tablespoon of dark soy to the mix, simple as that.



~ Enjoy! ~





Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/lo-mai-gai-steamed-glutinous-rice-with-chicken


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  1. Sylvia Matthews

    Love it!!!!Gonna give it a try this weekend!!!

    1. bubviv

      Good … let me know how it goes. Good luck!

  2. Mae

    How did you steam with the bowl, did you put it in a steam basket?

    1. bubviv

      I don’t own a steamer basket but you certainly can use it if you like. I just use a normal pot with about 2.5 inches of water. A metal stand is placed on the bottom to rest the bowl on. Then cover the pot with the lid.

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