Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
 
YIELD: 2 to 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 2 dried lotus leaves (can be found at specialty Asian markets or online)
  • 1 small handful dried shrimp
  • 5 small dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked glutinous rice (see Cook's Note)
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 to 2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
    • Special equipment: Butcher's twine, for tying lotus leaf parcels
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      Directions

      Cook's Note: Glutinous rice, often called sweet rice, is cooked by first thoroughly rinsing the rice in water to remove the excess starch until the water runs clear. Place 1 cup rice in a pan with 2 cups water (1 to 2 ratio), then bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

      In a large bowl or in a clean sink, soak the lotus leaves for 20 minutes in enough hot water to cover, and then drain and set aside. In a small bowl, soak the dried shrimp for 20 minutes in enough hot water to cover, and then drain, finely chop and set aside. In another small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms for 20 minutes in enough hot water to cover, and then drain, finely chop and set aside.

      Heat a wok over high heat until the wok begins to smoke, and then add the peanut oil. Add the ginger, shallots, chopped shrimp and chopped mushrooms, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the ground pork and stir-fry to break up. When the pork begins to brown, stir in the 5-spice and rice wine. When the wine has almost evaporated, stir in the rice. Once the rice is incorporated, season with the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, white pepper and mix well. Remove from the heat.

      Remove lotus leaves from soaking water (if you haven't already), open and pat dry with paper towels. Spoon half of the sticky rice mixture into the center of 1 lotus leaf. Fold in the sides (snug, but not tight), fold up the bottom and roll up. Secure with butcher's twine. Repeat with the remaining lotus leaf and rice. Place in a bamboo steamer and steam for 8 to 10 minutes to infuse with fragrance.

      Remove from the steamer and unwrap the parcels. Serve garnished with the sliced scallions.
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