荷葉蒸飯 Steamed Rice in Lotus Leaf
If you are a tea lover, you will definitely love this rice steamed in lotus leaf. Just like the pleasant fragrance released when making a good oolong tea, lotus leaf also has similar scent when steamed. The rice absorbs the aroma when wrapped in lotus leaves, making this dish instantly more delicious and pleasant to taste. A classic steamed rice in lotus leaf usually contains rice stir fried with Cantonese sausage, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimps, scallops for a savory umami taste, then wrapped and steamed in lotus leaf to give an extra delightful flavor. I always favor natural materials. If steamed in a traditional bamboo steamer, the moment you lift the lid, you just can’t wait to unwrap the pocket!
Ingredients (For 3 pockets that fit in a 6″ bamboo steamer individually):
- 3 dried lotus leaves (If there are holes or minor damages in your lotus leaves, overlap two leaves to wrap a pocket. If you use a bigger steamer, you can also wrap into one bigger pocket instead of three smaller ones. I choose the 6″ bamboo steamer for single serving purpose)
- 1.5 tbsp dried shrimps
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms (what I have here is button-sized shiitake mushrooms. If your shiitake mushrooms are bigger, you can reduce the number to 5-6 shiitake mushrooms or as desired)
- 1.5 tbsp *dried scallops
- 3 fresh scallops
- 1 Cantonese sausage
- 2 cups of cooked rice
- 1 tbsp chopped scallions. (Preferably with 1/2 tbsp chopped white stem, 1/2 tbsp chopped green part)
- 1 tsp minced ginger
*Dried scallops (aka conpoy) are usually smaller and darker in color then fresh scallops. It has a delicate taste mixed with marine and sweet umami flavor. The size of dried scallops vary from 1″ plus to 1 cm in diameter due to different fresh water and salt water species. Most of the salt water scallops usually preserve richer flavor, however the price range differs based on origin and methods of production. Similar to the seasoning value of dried shrimps as I explained in my previous Shrimp Cheung Fun recipe, dried scallops also contain high content of various free amino acids and minerals that contribute rich umami taste that work as a perfect natural flavor enhancer. It is much favored in Cantonese cuisine and some Chinese dish. The earliest documentation of dried scallops in Chinese culinary history was before 1101 AD.
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (to give rice a richer brown color. Can be omitted. )
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Salt (Adjust to taste. I prefer less salty dish so I seasoned only with soy sauce. )
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 pinch of white pepper powder
- 1 tbsp water
- Reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimps, dried scallops by soaking in warm water for 10 minutes (dry scallops will take from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the size). Boil water then rinse dried lotus leaves to clean. Soak leaves in hot water for a few minutes until soften then drain and set aside.
- Slice Cantonese sausage. Dice reconstituted shrimps if it’s bigger than a thumbnail. Shred rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and scallops. Set aside.
- Bring a frying pan to medium to high heat. Add oil until pan is hot then stir fry minced ginger and chopped scallion whites until aromatic. Add in sliced sausages, continue frying until fat is out, then add in chopped green scallions, shredded shiitake mushrooms, fresh scallops and reconstituted scallop shreds, and shrimps. Continue stir-frying for a few minutes until rich in aroma then add in rice and seasoning. Mix well all the ingredients so every grain of rice is coated with a nice caramel color and the rich umami flavor, turn off heat.
- Wrap rice in lotus leaf. Fold it into a pocket that fits into a 6″ bamboo steamer. Steam in high heat for 15 minutes then serve.