In Chinese traditions, 荷叶饭 (lotus leaf glutinous rice) is a dish commonly served in wedding banquets and festive meals, including during Chinese New Year. Back in ancient times when the poor could not afford mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival, pumpkins would be eaten as a replacement. This tradition has been passed down from China but still practised in some Chinese communities. The good news is that pumpkins are also packed with vitamins and minerals, and relatively low in calories. It’s also very high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body turns into vitamin A.
Our Golden Lotus Wrapped Glutinous Rice 荷家团圆金瓜饭 represents a family’s togetherness and bond dining together as one. It features the use of pumpkin for that “gold” element in the dish.
Not only is this dish’s presentation apt for the occasion, it’s also a yummy main with great flavours to savour. It’s okay to indulge occasionally, especially during this festive season, but why not make the dish healthier without compromising on taste?
Here are four ways to make this glutinous rice dish healthier
1. With a slight twist from the usual, add butternut squash cubes (or pumpkin) into the dish to add a natural hint of sweetness to the savoury flavours while also brightening the dish with some colours. Aside from being a complex carb that can help you to feel fuller while eating less rice, squash and pumpkin are packed with nutrients and are a great source of antioxidants for the body.
2. Low sodium chicken broth is used in this recipe to limit the sodium intake, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and other health problems. If you have more time, you can make your own chicken broth by boiling chicken bones with water and a large pinch of salt.
3. We used chicken fillets as a healthier yet rich source of protein. To overcome the stringy texture of overcooked chicken breasts, we added some corn flour to the chicken and reduced the cooking time.
4. Glutinous rice has a chewier and starchier texture as compared to regular long-grain rice. With a naturally sweeter flavour profile, it elevates the dish in terms of taste and texture. However, it is the highest in glycaemic index among all the rice types available in the market. This is a rice that most health-conscious individuals avoid, but with the addition of Alchemy Fibre™ For Rice, you can achieve a lower Glycemic Index with 10x more fibre than regular white rice.
Ingredients: For Golden Lotus Wrapped Glutinous Rice
- 4 dried lotus leaves
- 1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong)
- 1/4 cup dried shrimps
- 4 dried Chinese mushrooms
- 150 g chicken fillet
- 160 g butternut squash or pumpkin
- 2 cups glutinous rice
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 sprig of spring onion
- 2 heaped tbsp Alchemy Fibre™ For Rice (about 30g)
Instructions for Golden Lotus Wrapped Glutinous Rice:
- Pre-soak the glutinous rice at least 3 to 4 hours before cooking. For lap cheong, dried shrimps and Chinese mushrooms, soak them in separate bowls, at least 20 minutes before cooking. *Do note that the prep time above excludes the soaking time for these ingredients.
- Slice chicken into strips. Lightly season chicken with 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce, pinch of pepper, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp corn flour.
- Remove the casing of the lap cheong and slice them up. In a large wok or pan, fry the lap cheong without oil until grease can be seen on its surface, the colour will be seemingly redder as well. Once done, set aside.
- Sauté the drained dried shrimps, fry them for around 5 minutes and set aside.
- Now, pan fry the chicken until it is cooked but be careful to not overcook them (alas, they become tough). Set them aside once the pieces are no longer pink.
- Sauté the minced garlic until aromatic, then add in the sliced mushrooms to fry them till they are slightly golden and add in the soaked rice to fry and combine them together. Add in some dark soya sauce, light soya sauce and the sauteed shrimps from before.
- Add in Alchemy Fibre™ For Rice to the chicken stock and stor well to dissolve before pouring the stock into the mixture. Stir fry until the stock evaporates, add more when needed and continue frying. Add in the chicken and lap cheong to combine them well.
- Layer up the two lotus leaves on a steamer-friendly plate so that the holes are overlapped. Pour the rice mixture into the leaves and then fold the leaves up to wrap them up tightly.
- Steam the lotus leaf rice on high for 30 minutes.
- When done, remove the plate from the steamer. Open up the leaves, serve warm and enjoy!
We wish all our readers a joyful time bonding with friends and family over homey cooked food filled with warm and love.