when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
hubs reminded me the other day that i haven’t made loh mai kai (glutinous rice with chicken and mushroom) in a while..
loh mai kai is a very common dish in most chinese coffee shops that serve steamed dumpling and such, and of course, dim sum eateries.. it’s very similar to bak chang (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) and another version which is wrapped in lotus leaves (loh mai fun).. the only difference between loh mai kai and bak chang is the way it’s cooked, some ingredients, and the taste of the glutinous rice..bak chang is wrapped in bamboo leaves and boiled for a few hours, while loh mai kai is normally packed into a small bowl and steamed.. both contain glutinous rice, meat and mushroom, but a loh mai kai recipe doesn’t include salted egg yolk, chestnuts or black eyed peas.. loh mai kai components are usually limited to chicken, mushroom and glutinous rice.. as for taste, the glutinous rice in loh mai kai is sweeter than that in bak chang..
like bak chang, preparing loh mai kai can be quite a tedious task.. however, since the main ingredients are not as many, loh mai kai is still much easier AND faster to prepare.. my first homemade loh mai kai years ago was based on Lily ‘s recipe.. have since adjusted it here and there to suit my taste buds and such..
Lily’s recipe requires the glutinous rice to be soaked to soften and then steamed halfway.. i skipped those steps altogether and just cook the rice halfway in a rice cooker instead.. glutinous rice or any other types of rice only needs to be soaked if you’re going to steam it in a steamer.. for cooking in a rice cooker, it’s not needed at all.. using the rice cooker also cuts down the preparation time and steps quite a bit.. before it goes into the rice cooker, i stir fry the rice first in a bit of oil and browned garlic.. the garlic infused oil gives the rice a really fragrant aroma in the end..
for the chicken and mushroom, i prefer to prepare these two components separately.. i like to use deboned chicken leg meat nstead of the usual breast part as breast meat tends to get really dry and quite tasteless most of the time.. to ensure maximum flavor, marinate the meat for at least an hour prior to cooking.. as for mushroom, i prefer to use fresh ones, instead of the dried variety.. i find fresh shiitake mushroom tastes best for loh mai kai.. the texture is silkier and softer, and soaks up the seasonings much better.. nowadays, i like to add salted duck egg yolk in making loh mai kai.. it actually complements the whole dish really well..
some like to eat loh mai kai with chilli sauce, but in my opinion, it’s best eaten plain.. but then again, i prefer to eat any dim sum without dipping it into any sweet or chilli sauce at all.. honestly, if the dim sum is seasoned properly, no additional dipping sauce is needed at all, unless of course, it’s part of the dish..