Friday, 29 April 2011

Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken (Lo Mai Kai)

I still keep in mind my self-challenge to showcase asian (especially Singaporean) food instead of the usual real food fare, and if I do share a recipe that's not, to follow up with one that's similar/inspired, but asian. When I did the Greek dolmades, I knew I just had to do Lo Mai Kai, fragrant glutinous rice steamed with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, chinese sausage, and/or dried shrimps, wrapped up in lotus leaves (hence also called Lotus Leaf Rice 荷叶饭). However, the Singapore version of Lo Mai Kai is slightly different. It's steamed in little aluminium foil bowls, sold in coffeeshops (kopitams) along with Chinese steamed buns (pau), as takeaway tea or breakfast.

Lo Mai Kai
serves 1 hungry person (please make more!)
1/2 cup glutinous rice
70g chicken thighs, deboned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 shiitake mushrooms, soaked (mushroom soaking water reserved)

For chicken and mushrooms
1 tsp dark soy sauce (I use 1 tsp tamari + 1 tsp molasses)
1 tsp natural oyster sauce
1 tsp shaoxing huadiao rice wine
1 clove garlic, grated
few drops of sesame oil
white pepper

For Rice
1 cup water (or stock)
1 tsp tamari light soy sauce (+a little bit of molasses)
1 tsp natural oyster sauce
1/2 tsp five spice powder
few drops of sesame oil
white pepper

1. The night before, soak the rice with enough water to cover (This is not just a step to reduce phytic acid in grains, this is a must for sticky rice!) and marinate the mushrooms and chicken.
2. The next day, drain the rice and cook with 1 cup of water for about 30 minutes, or till cooked (I use a rice cooker). Mix with the seasoning for rice.

3. Fry the chicken and mushrooms for a few minutes till cooked.

4. To assemble, place the chicken and mushrooms at the bottom of a greased metal dish, then top with the rice. Press down to make sure the layers are tight.

5. Steam over medium high heat for 30 minutes.

6. Turn out onto a plate and dig in! If you've been wondering so far why I'm hiding the chicken and mushrooms with the rice instead of showcasing them, ah, now you know! It works like pineapple upside down cake.

The sticky rice is infused with the delicious flavours from the spices and seasoning, shiitake mushrooms, and marinated meat. And the pork lard, as used traditionally, and which I'd happily add to if I had. This was one of my favourite dishes growing up. My mum would go to the Tanjong Rhu Pau stall (best paus ever) and buy like 20 buns and these delicious Lo Mai Kai for tea that day and breakfast the next day. Now I wish I doubled the recipe..


  1. Mmmmm, yummy! I would have to make many more servings for all my boys. Have a great weekend :-)

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love the flavor of brown rice and mushrooms. Looks so good!!

    Denise @ Creative Kitchen

  3. Fabulous! I love the presentation.

  4. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I miss this dish, have to source for ingredients in Sweden :)

  5. thank you!

    wow sweden, I guess I really have no right to complain about sourcing for ingredients here in London then! ><

  6. Wow, I'm impressed at what you cook as a student! I can only think of what I ate as a student and well....wonder how I'm still alive. :)

  7. thanks, i try >< haha the beautiful food you cook now more htan makes up for it!!

  8. Followed your recipe today and it turned out great! I skipped rice cooker step though and simply toasted the raw rice with oil, the seasonings and a bowl of water that was used to soak the mushrooms. When the water had been absorbed by the rice, I placed the chicken and the rice into the steamer for 30 mins and it came out perfect. Here's the end product. =)

    Thanks SH! Everybody loved it.

    1. HURRAH so happy to hear this. And your lo mai kai looks amazing, probably even better than mine, I spot lap cheong! :)