How to Make Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

How to Make Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

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Makes: 8 | Prep Time: 90 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Adapted From: Rhonda Parkinson

Sticky Rice in lotus leaf (aka nor mai gai) is a leaf-wrapped sticky rice packet with pork, chicken, sausage and black mushrooms inside. The contents are steamed and then unwrapped for the diners at the table.

This is one of those dim sum dishes that is arguably best left to the professionals. Not because it’s especially difficult, but because making these sticky rice dumplings is so labor intensive that they’re best made in mass quantities. For our purposes as home chefs, I might even double up this recipe and then either freeze the rest or give them to friends. A better return for the same afternoon’s work.

In terms of preparation, get the rice started on its soaking and steaming process, then get dive in on the meat and mushroom filling. Get the timing right and you’ll have the filling cooled just in time to start stuffing and wrapping the lotus leaf packets.

Can you share any expert tips from your experience making sticky rice in lotus leaf? Want to ask a question before you try making it yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf Recipe

Makes: 8 | Prep Time: 90 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Adapted From: Rhonda Parkinson


4 lotus leaves, cut in half
3 cups glutinous rice
4 Chinese dried black mushrooms
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6 ounces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Chinese sausages
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for stir-frying
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste


1. Soak the lotus leaves in hot water for 1 hour. Pat dry.

2. Cover the rice with water and let soak for 1 hour. Drain. Line a bamboo steamer with a cabbage leaf. Fill a wok approximately to the half-way point with water so that the steamer will be sitting above the water without touching. Bring the water to a boil cover the rice and steam for about 20 minutes. Remove the rice, cover and keep warm while preparing the remainder of the ingredients.

3. Soften the dried mushrooms by soaking in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze out any excess water, remove the stems and finely chop.

4. Cut the chicken into small cubes about the size of a postage stamp. Add the salt, 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Marinate the chicken for 20 minutes.

5. Finely chop the sausages.

6. Peel and chop the garlic. In a small bowl, combine the rice wine, light soy and dark soy sauce. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water, and whisk into the sauce.

7. Heat a wok and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the chicken cubes. Stir-fry until they turn white and are 80 percent cooked through.

8. Add the sausages and the mushrooms. Stir-fry for a minute. Give the sauce mixture a quick re-stir then add in the middle, stirring quickly to thicken. Season with pepper, to taste. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes to mix everything together and heat through. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Cool.

9. To make the wraps, separate the rice and the filling into 8 equal sections, 1 section for each wrap. Lay out a lotus leaf in front of you. Place a portion of the rice mixture into the center of a lotus leaf. Add the meat and vegetable mixture over top, shaping the rice with your hands so that it forms a ring around the filling. Add more rice to cover.

10. Form a square parcel with the lotus leaf and tie it up with twine. Repeat with the remaining lotus leaves.

11. Steam the lotus leaf parcels, covered, on a heatproof plate in a bamboo steamer for 15 minutes, or until they are done.

Learn more about Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf from these Experts

Watch Josephine from YummyEasyCooking make Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf without the lotus leaves! (VIDEO)
The Woks of Life makes a classic Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf
Focus:Snap:Eat makes Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf in his home kitchen

HT: Photo by Pop Sugar.

6 Responses

  1. opinionatedchef

    if i want the rice to be cooked in chicken stock, can i use chicken stock instead of water for the steaming? or can i add chicken demiglace(very reduced stock) to the rice before putting it in the cup, and then steam with water? thank you for this website. it is very helpful!

    • Dim Sum Central

      Thanks for your question! Between the two options, I might try adding some chicken stock to the steaming water that you use to cook the rice. However, I’d point out that the rice picks up a lot of flavor from both the lotus leaf wrap, as well as from the sausage, mushroom and chicken filling ingredients during the latter steps of cooking. I would suspect that your efforts with the chicken stock may be overwhelmed by those flavors.

  2. larwin

    I’m not sure if lotus leaves are available in the US…can I substitute it with banana leaves? or any recommendations? Thank you, Winnie

    • Dim Sum Central

      Hi Winnie, yes, lotus leaves are generally available at Chinese grocery stores here in the U.S. And yes, banana leaves are a reasonable substitute if you can’t find lotus leaves. Let me know how it goes! ~Wes

  3. Douglas

    I have received a sticky rice in lotus leaf as a gift. How do I prepare and serve it?

    • Dim Sum Central

      Hi Douglas, for a cold sticky rice in lotus leaf parcel, I would steam it on a heatproof plate raised above about an inch of water in a covered pot for about 30-35 minutes. From there, just unwrap and serve! ~Wes

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