Steaming rice in a lotus leaf infuses it with tea-like flavours, and also makes a dramatic parcel to unwrap at the table in front of guests. Ideally both the rice and shiitake mushrooms should be soaked overnight, but there are shortcuts if you run out of time. It’s a fun and methodical recipe to put together, and is absolutely delicious served alongside seabass with tamarind sauce.
Ingredients Serves: 4
The night before
- In one bowl, leave the glutinous rice soaking in plenty of water. In a second bowl, cover the shiitake mushrooms with plenty of water. Weigh them down with a saucer or something similar to make sure they are fully submerged. If you don’t have time to leave both of these overnight, the process can be accelerated by soaking for a couple of hours in warm water.
The day of cooking
- Drain the pre-soaked rice, and cook it in 700ml of boiling water.
- Whilst the rice cooks, grate the garlic and ginger, and finely dice the shallots. Place in one bowl. Drain the shiitake mushrooms, and dice finely, along with the bacon. Place in a second bowl.
- In a small jug, stir together the light soy, dark soy, sesame oil, oyster sauce and Shaoxing wine.
- Heat the groundnut oil in a wok. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger, and stir fry for one minute. Next add the bacon and shiitake mushrooms. Pour over the sauce mixture, and stire together.
- When the rice is cooked, add in the vegetable and bacon mixture. Stir with a fork, so you’re continuously breaking up the grains of rice. Set aside.
- Place the lotus leaves in a clean sink, and refresh by pouring boiling water over them, and letting them soak for two minutes.
- Unfurl the lotus leaves so they’re a circular shape, and lay them on top of each other on a large, flat surface, checking there are no holes. Heap the sticky rice into the middle, and then wrap them up – see pictures. Place the lotus bundle into 9 inch bamboo steamer. Put 1 inch of water in the bottom of a wok or frying pan – just enough so the steamer can stand in it without the rice parcel getting wet. Bring to a simmer, and steam the rice for twenty minutes.
- Serve directly from the bamboo steamer, unwrapping the lotus leaf parcel at the table.