Chicken Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves (Zhen Zhu Ji Dim Sum Recipe)

Let’s make chicken sticky rice in lotus leaves! In the past, I showed you how to make 荷葉糯米雞 (he ye nuo mi ji, or lo mai gai). And today I’d like to share with you a smaller version of it, which is called 珍珠雞 (zhen zhu ji). It’s a super popular dim sum dish. Let’s get started!

Chicken Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves
(Zhen Zhu Ji Dim Sum Recipe)

Serves 10

Prep Time: Overnight, plus 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

5 lotus leaves, quartered (you can buy these at any Chinese supermarket, or online), rehydrated in water
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, rehydrated
2 cups long-grained glutinous rice, soaked in water
1 1/4 cups water

For the chicken:
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
Pinch of five-spice powder
Pinch of white pepper

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Additional ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil, divided
2 links Chinese sausage, cut into thin rings
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 cooked salted egg yolk, halved


The night before, prepping:

Rinse and rehydrate the lotus leaves in water overnight. Place a heavy plate on top, so that the leaves wouldn’t flow to the top.

The next day, continue prepping:

Rinse the glutinous rice several times, and rehydrate in water for 2 hours.

Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms, and rehydrate in water for 2 hours.

Rinse the dried shrimp, and rehydrate in water for 2 hours.

Drain all ingredients before using them.

To make the sauce:

In a small bowl, add soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, five-spice powder, white pepper, and salt. Whisk together.

To cook the rice:

In a bowl, but add 1 1/4 cup of water. Pour in 1/2 of the sauce. Mix.

Transfer the pre-soaked and drained rice to the pot of an electric rice cooker and add the water mixture. Mix. Use the setting for rice and cook.

To marinate the chicken:

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the chicken thighs, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, five-spice powder, white pepper, and salt. Mix well. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

To stir fry the filling:

In a well-seasoned wok, over high heat, heat it up until smoking. Turn to low heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra light olive oil. Immediately add the Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms, and stir until the aroma comes out about 1 minute. Remove from wok and set aside.

In the same wok, over high heat, heat it up until smoking. Add another tablespoon of extra light olive oil. Add the marinated chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, 30 seconds. Add the cooked sausage-shrimp-mushroom mixture. Then add the rest of the sauce. Stir fry until all ingredients are cooked through and combined, about 1 minute. Remove from wok and set aside.

To assemble:

When the rice is done, wait for about 5 minutes until it’s slightly cooled.

Place a lotus leaf quarter on a flat surface and pat it dry. Place another lotus leaf directly on top of the first and pat dry. Place 3 tablespoons of sticky rice in the center and form it into a rectangle. Then place1 a tablespoon of fillings, and 1 quartered piece of cooked salted egg yolk, over the rice. Add another 3 tablespoons of rice on top of the fillings.

Fold the bottom of the lotus leaves up and over the rice. Then, fold in the right and left sides, and roll the bundle upward until it becomes a rectangular packet.

Repeat with the rest of the lotus leaves, rice, and fillings.

To steam:

In a steamer, bring water to a boil. Put each packet in the steamer, one by one, leaving a little space in between. Cover and steam over high heat for 1 hour. The rice is already cooked, but this additional steaming step infuses the rice and fillings with the aroma of the lotus leaves.

Carefully remove from steamer and serve.


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