Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf

imageIf you’ve been to a dim sum restaurant, you may have seen — or tried –those delicious  lotus leaf wraps consisting of steamed sticky rice, black mushrooms, chicken and Chinese sausages.  They constitute a full meal in themselves, but they also make good pairings with other steamed items on the dim sum menu. Much like other ethnic foods wrapped in leaves and cooked to just the right moistness (like the Hawaiian lau lau), the smoky aroma of the lotus leaf in this recipe can only take your appetite several notches higher.  Packaged dried lotus leaves are available at most Asian supermarkets. or online.

A bit of interesting fact about lotus leaves:  they’re hydrophobic!  They repel water, managing to stay dry even in a rainfall.  Umbrella or raincoat material?  Perhaps. Computer screen protector? Maybe. Culinary  gem? Absolutely!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup sticky rice (glutinous rice)

1 boneless and skinless chicken breast, sliced into small cubes

2 Chinese sausages

5  dried black mushrooms

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tbsps soy sauce

1 tsp corn starch

1 tbsp red wine

Salt and pepper to taste

4 dried lotus leaves, cut in half

2 tbsps Olive oil

(You will need an electric rice cooker with steamer tray to cook the rice)

DIRECTIONS

Soak the lotus leaves in warm water and let stand for 1 hour.  Pat dry with paper towel and set aside. Place the glutinous rice in a deep bowl. Soak the rice in water for one hour. Drain the rice.  Line the bottom of the aluminum steamer tray of the rice cooker with a sheet of parchment paper, and place the glutinous rice over it.  Pour water into the rice cooker and set the steamer tray on top.  Cover and turn rice cooker on to start the steam.  Steam for about 20 minutes and set aside.

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes.  Drain, cut off the stems and slice the rest of the mushrooms into fine strips. Slice the Chinese sausages into diagonal bite-sized pieces.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, red wine and the corn starch dissolved in 1 tsp of cold water. Whisk together.

In a large wok, heat Olive oil in medium-high heat.  Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.  Add the cubed chicken and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add in the sausages and mushrooms and cook for another minute or so.  Pour in the sauce mixture. Stir well.  Add salt and pepper and continue cooking for two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place a small handful of the cooked rice in the middle of a lotus leaf.  Add about 2 tbsps of the chicken and sausage mixture on top of the rice.  Place another thin layer of rice on top of the mixture. Fold in all sides of the lotus leaf to form a rectangle or square wrap and secure with a piece of string.  Repeat the process for the rest of the lotus leaves and mixture.

Place the wraps in the steamer tray. Pour water into the rice cooker and set the steamer tray on top.  Cover and steam for 15-20 minutes. You may need to steam the wraps in several batches, depending on the size of your steamer/rice cooker.

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