Steamed Glutinous Rice

Steamed Glutinous Rice aka Lo Mai Gai (糯米鸡)

I like steamed glutinous rice that is firm but tender and packed with an assortment of meat. Steamed glutinous rice is a variation on the conical shaped rice dumpling.

There is a popular legend involving rice dumplings.  The story goes like this: Qu Yuan was a famous Chinese poet and minister who was known for his patriotism. Apparently he tried warning his king of impending doom from other warring states however the king would not listen. In despair, he threw himself into the river. According to the legend, people threw rice packets of rice into the river to prevent fish from eating the poet’s body.

Glutinous rice dumpling is stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fillings can include salted duck egg, pork belly, chicken, Chinese sausage, chestnuts and Chinese dried mushrooms.They are cooked by steaming or boiling. They are usually eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (called Duanwu Festival in ancient days) which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. These days, these dumplings are available for sale all year round due to its popularity.

Wrapping a dumpling neatly in the traditional elongated conical shape is a skill.  The process is very involved and the dumplings have to be boiled for 3 hours. I decided against using bamboo leaves for my dumplings and use my rice cooker instead to steam the rice.  I must say I am really happy with the result – the texture of the dumpling is firm like the dumpling in bamboo leaves – and the process takes only 20 minutes to cook! I will be using this quick & easy method from now on.

INGREDIENTS (2 serves)

  • 1 cup glutinous rice (soaked in water for at least an hour & drain)
  • 1 tablespoon small dried shrimps (soaked in hot water till soft & drain; reserve water)
  • 2 Chinese dried mushrooms (soaked in hot water & drain, then sliced; reserve water)
  • 50 gm chicken meat (sliced and seasoned with a little dark soya sauce, sugar, salt & cornflour)
  • 1/2 Chinese sausage (sliced)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • Pinch of five spice powder
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fried onions
  • 1 cup water (from water used for soaking dried shrimp & mushroom)


1. Get all the ingredients ready for use.

2. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry minced garlic till fragrant.

3. Add drained glutinous rice and fry for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients (except water) and fry for another 5 mins. Lastly add water and bring to the boil.

5. Transfer immediately to a rice cooker to complete the cooking.  If you do not have a rice cooker, boil the rice until the rice is starting to dry up and holes appear. Turn down heat to very low and let the steam complete the cooking This should take another 10-15 minutes. Taste the rice to ensure it is fully cooked. If it is not fully cooked, continue cooking for another few minutes.

6. To serve, pick out the sausage, dried prawn, chicken & mushroom and divide them equally among 2 small rice bowls.  Scoop the rice on the meat and use the rice scoop to press the rice down so that the rice  is tightly packed.  Run a spatula around the bowl to loosen and invert on a serving plate.


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