It's a pity the aroma of the leaf cannot be presented here.
Eating lotus leaf rice is a special affair in my family. It is about Chinese tea, dim-sum and get togethers in the midst of cacophony in Cantonese restaurants. It was also over lotus leaf rice and such that a Teochew girl got to know her future Cantonese in-laws many years ago.
Because of the manifold steps involved in making this, the number of times I have made this can be counted with one hand. But when I saw dumplings being sold in the market place months after the dumpling festival, my appetite is wetted and I thought the upsized version using lotus leaf will remove the complication of wrapping with tacky, bamboo leaves.
Other than Chinatown market, the other place where this exotic wrapper can be had is from any medical shop. The ingredients are limited only by imagination and budget, but whatever they are, the unique aroma of lotus leaf will always take center stage.
To ensure that the rice will cook well, parboil it before frying it with seasoning. If there is going to be a lot of handling of the rice packet, tie up with a straw before steaming to prevent the contents from leaking during transfers. Always allow the rice packet to be steamed on the folded up since this area is more sturdy and breakage is less likely. If salted egg yolk is added, steam it with a dash of wine before using.
Makes 3 big packets
handful of dried shrimps, dehydrated
½ kg of not-so-lean pork, cut to small cubes
1 cup of shitake mushrooms, soaked overnight and cubed
1 cup of chestnuts, cooked
1 cup of diced candied winter melon
1 cup of red bean paste, divided to 3 portions
1 cup of rice , soaked overnight and steamed until it is almost cooked. I microwaved the rice with an inch of water for 8 minutes and then drain off the water using a sieve.
5 spices, 2 T
fried shallots, 1 cup
3 lotus leave, soaked overnight then blanched in boiling water until pliable.
prepare meat :
heat olive oil over medium heat until pan is hot.
Fry spices, shallots, shrimps. Take care not to burn it.
Add pork, mushrooms, chestnuts, melon.
Season with light and dark sauce.
Add sesame oil and pepper.
Cook until mixture is fairly dry.
Prepare rice :
Strain the rice.
In a pot, heat oil.
Dry shallots and spices.
Rice in the rice and combine, medium heat.
Add light and dark sauce.
Use a bowl as a mould for the rice packet.
Snip off the hard part of the leaf.
Fold into half and place the leave over the bowl template.
For every packet, scoop ½ portion of rice on the leaf.
Sandwich it with meat-chestnut.
spoon over red bean paste.
Top with the second ½ portion of rice.
Wrap the rice by folding in the leaf to form a packet.
Invert the packet and place it on a steamer.
Steam the packet for 60 minutes.