Savory chicken & rice in a lotus leaf (chin

Yield: 8 Servings

Measure Ingredient
8 larges Dried lotus leaves
1 cup Long-grain rice
¾ cup Sweet glutinous rice (see Note)
2 cups Chicken stock
3 \N Chinese sausages lop cheong) *
8 \N Chinese dried black mushrooms **
2 tablespoons Small dried shrimp ***
1 \N Whole chicken breast, boned and skinned
2 tablespoons Soy sauce, plus more for dipping
1 teaspoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon White pepper
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
½ teaspoon Grated ginger
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
2 teaspoons Dry vermouth or Shao Hsing wine
½ teaspoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon White pepper
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil


* cut diagonally into 1-inch slices ** soaked in warm water until soft and pliable (about 30 minutes) *** soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

Foods wrapped in dried lotus leaves become infused with an exotic earthy flavor. If lotus leaves are not available, you can wrap the rice filling in oiled parchment. Besides being an unusual appetizer, this dish can be served as a snack, for lunch, or as a light meal.

Note that the first step must be done the night before. Because lotus leaves vary so much in size, eight packets may require anywhere from four to ten leaves. (Larger leaves can be split in half, smaller leaves may need to be overlapped.) 1. The night before, pour boiling water over the lotus leaves and let them soak for 1 hour. Rinse and squeeze them dry. Mix the long- grain and glutinous rice together in a large bowl. Wash the rice under running cold water; gently stir and rub the grains between your fingers to loosen all the excess starch. Continue until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly. Mix the rice with the chicken stock in a 2-quart saucepan; soak overnight in the refrigerator.

2. The next day, set the saucepan of rice uncovered over high heat; bring to a boil. Stir just enough to loosen the rice grains. Reduce the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes. Put the sausages on top of the rice and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat but do not remove the cover. Let the rice stand for 10 minutes, then, with a wet wooden spoon, transfer it to a large bowl; set aside.

3. Squeeze the mushrooms dry. Cut off the stems at the base and discard them; cut the caps in half. Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken breast into ¾-inch chunks and toss it with the marinade. Add the mushrooms and marinate for 20 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the shrimp.

4. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, and sesame oil; mix into the cooked rice. Add the chicken-mushroom mixture and the shrimp.

5. Fold a lotus leaf in half and put it on a cutting board. If the middle stem or edges are tough and hard, trim and discard them. (If the leaves are small, you may need to over- lap halves.) Divide the rice mixture into 8 portions; place one portion in the center of a leaf half. Fold the edges over the rice to make a 4-inch square packet. Tie it with twine. Repeat with the remaining leaves and rice.

Arrange the packets in a single layer in a bamboo steaming basket.

6. Prepare a wok for steaming. Steam the packets over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Remove them from the steamer and cut each packet across the top to expose its contents. Serve with small dishes of soy sauce for dipping.

NOTE: Sweet glutinous rice is also known as "sticky rice" because when it is cooked it becomes sticky. It is used to make poultry stuffing and leaf-wrapped rice packages; it is called sweet rice because it is often used to make sweet dishes. Soak it overnight before cooking for the best results.

Makes 8 packets.

From "Asian Appetizers" by Joyce Jue, Harlow and Ratner, 1991. ISBN 0-9627345-1-9.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; December 6 1992.

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