If I had a favorite dim sum item I ordered as a kid, it would be “luo mai gai”

  • sticky rice filled with chicken, mushrooms and Chinese sausage all wrapped and perfumed in a lotus leaf. I loved luo mai gai-s because they were substantial, kept me full and had all of these wonderful treasures inside. I could always tell when the carts were bringing them by because it smelled of fragrant lotus leaves.

It is important to actually use three parts sticky rice to one part long grain rice in this recipe because sticky rice gets overly soft especially because it is cooked twice. Having the long grain gives the rice texture, which is more appetizing.

In terms of meat substitutes, I ended up using Gardein’s Chicken Strips, which are one of my favorite because it really holds its shape throughout the cooking process. Instead of Chinese lap cheong, I opted for beets, which mimic the red color and slight sweetness of lap cheong, but it does bleed through, so that can easily be substituted for a vegan sausage.

Below are the steps for how to wrap the lotus leaf packages. It is important to use two layers because there can be small holes in the lotus leaves and you don’t want the sauces from the rice to leak out.

Luo mai Gai

(Makes 5)

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain sticky rice + 1/2 cup long grain rice, cooked
  • 4 whole lotus leaves, rehydrated
  • 10 faux chicken strips
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated
  • 5 pieces beets, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch strips (or vegan sausage)
  • 5 chestnuts (optional)

Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Rice Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup water

Directions

  1. Cut middle tips off of lotus leaves. Soak in water for 1 hour.
  2. In a bowl, mix the chicken marinade together. Add in the faux chicken strips and mushrooms, toss and marinade for at least one hour.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the rice marinade. Put in the cooked rice and toss until combined.
  4. Use one half of the lotus leaf and put it on the bottom. Take one quarter of another leaf and put it in the middle of the lotus leaf half. Take one handful of marinaded rice and push the rice down to flatten.
  5. Add in one mushroom, 2 chicken strips and a strip of beet. Top off with another thin layer of rice to cover the filling.
  6. Roll the lotus leaf like a burrito to enclose the rice.
  7. Roll the second lotus leaf like a burrito into a rectangular package.
  8. Put lotus packages into a steamer and steam on medium high heat for 20 minutes.
  9. Unwrap and serve immediately.