Lo Mai Gai, or Chinese Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf by Kwanghi Chan

Kwanghi Chan Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic 2016

This dish has been created by Kwanghi Chan of Soder+Ko Dublin for the Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic 2016 with ingredients from Ardkeen Quality Food Store.

Chinese brunch, otherwise known as dimsum or yumcha, is a staple in Southern Chinese, or Cantonese life. It is a loud and noisy tradition, where many small dishes are served from carts, much tea is consumed, and massive Chinese families bicker over the cheque at the end of the meal. When I was growing up working in my uncle’s Donegal takeaway, Mondays was the day most Chinese people had off, and so we would drive the four hours to either Belfast or Dublin to have our yumcha with Chinese families from all over the country.

No dimsum table is complete without lo mai gai, where sticky rice is wrapped around seasoned chicken and steamed in a fragrant lotus leaf parcel.

40 mins prep 

Ingredients

  • Sticky Rice (Sweet Rice) 2 cups
for Marinated Chicken:
  • Skinless, boneless Chicken Thighs 0.5 pound sliced thinly
  • Cornstarch 0.5 teaspoon
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil 1 teaspoon
  • Oyster Sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Shaoxing Wine 0.5 teaspoon
  • Dark Soy Sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar 0.25 teaspoon
  • Ground White Pepper 0.25 teaspoon
  • Kosher Salt 2 pinches
for Sticky Rice Seasoning:
  • Shaoxing Wine 1 teaspoon
  • Toasted Sesame Oil 1 teaspoon
  • Oyster Sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Dark Soy Sauce 2 teaspoon
for the Lotus Leaf Packages:
  • 2 dried Lotus Leaves or 4 sheets of 2-foot-long Parchment Paper
  • Small Dried Shrimp, soaked in water for 5 minutes, then drained, rinsed, and patted dry (optional) 2 tablespoons
  • Canola or Vegetable oil, divided 3 teaspoons
  • Whole Shallot, minced 1
  • Garlic Cloves, minced 2 medium
  • Dried Shiitake Mushroom Caps, 8 rehydrated in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained, squeezed dry, and sliced thinly
  • Salted Duck Eggs 2 (cooked or uncooked)
  • Chinese Bacon (lap yuk), 3 ounces sliced thinly
  • Chinese Sausages (lap cheong), 2 sliced thinly on the bias

Method

Place sticky rice in a large bowl and cover completely with water. Let stand for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the Marinated Chicken: In a medium bowl, mix chicken with the remaining marinade ingredients until thoroughly combined. Let stand in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the Sticky Rice Seasoning:Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For the Lotus Leaf Packages: Cut each lotus leaf in half down the middle. Place leaves in a large container, cover with water, weighing leaves down with a plate if necessary, and soak for 1 hour.
Drain sticky rice well and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in dried shrimp, if using.
In a non-stick skillet or wok, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over high heat until shimmering.
Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute.
Add shiitake mushrooms and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Scrape mixture into the sticky rice and stir to combine. Stir in the Sticky Rice Seasoning.

In the same skillet or wok, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over high heat until shimmering. Add marinated chicken, and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
If you are using cooked salted duck eggs, peel the eggs, then slice in half and gently scoop out yolks with a spoon (it’s ok if some of the egg whites are attached). If you are using raw salted duck eggs, crack the eggs into a small bowl and separate the whites from the yolks (the yolks should be bright orange and fairly firm); carefully slice the yolks in half with a knife. Set cooked or uncooked yolks aside on a small plate.
To form packages, drain lotus leaves, pat dry with towels, and arrange on a work surface. Alternatively, arrange 4 pieces parchment paper on work surface. 

Place about 1/2 cup of sticky rice mixture in the center of each lotus leaf.
Arrange cooked chicken, Chinese bacon, Chinese sausage, and salted duck yolks on top of each stick rice mound.
Scoop another 1/2 cup of sticky rice mixture directly on top of the rice mounds on each lotus leaf, carefully spreading it out to cover the meats and egg yolk; it’s okay if the rice can’t cover everything.
Wrap each lotus-leaf or parchment package by folding edges around filling to form a tight package. Using kitchen twine, tie up each package.
Bring water to a boil in a steamer setup. Arrange rice packages in steamer and steam for 1 hour 30 minutes; make sure to check water level occasionally, topping up with more boiling water if needed to prevent it from going dry.
Cut off and discard kitchen twine and serve right away.

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