Lo Mai Gai (Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken)

Lo Mai Gai

I finally made Lo Mai Gai. It was on my to-do list for a while as I had mentioned this dish in my Savory Steamed Glutinous Rice post way back in February of 2011. I bought four small stainless steel bowls made specially for cooking lo mai gai during my last trip back to Malaysia. They are just the perfect size and a “nice to have”. I should have bought eight instead of four. 😉

Lo Mai Gai is a popular dim sum dish of steamed glutinous rice topped with lap cheong (Chinese sausages) and dark soy sauce chicken and mushrooms very similar to this Braised Chicken with Dark Soy Sauce and Mushrooms. Sometimes, it is wrapped in lotus leaves and known as Hor Yip Fan (lotus leaf rice) with the rice being a lighter color as only light soy sauce is used.

Lo Mai Gai

Glutinous, also known as sweet or sticky rice can be easily purchased at any Asian grocery store. It must be soaked for several hours prior to use to give it a tender texture. It does expand a little after soaking and is steamed, unlike regular rice which is normally cooked in water. Since glutinous rice is heavier, the serving size is also smaller.

Lo Mai Gai

Do not be deterred with the seemingly long ingredients list, many which are sauces. Small shallow bowls or ramekins may be used in place of those stainless steel bowls. Do give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Lo Mai Gai (Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 small servings
  • 8 oz (225g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled
  • 2 lap cheong (Chinese sausages)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Chinese (shiitake) mushrooms, soaked and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch mixed with ½ cup (120ml) water)
For the glutinous rice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups (500g) glutinous rice, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp five spice powder
  1. Combine chicken, Shao Hsing wine, and soy sauce in a bowl. Grate ginger over chicken. Mix well and allow it to marinade for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak Chinese sausages in a pan of hot water for about 10 minutes. Casings should puff up. Remove casings and slice sausages at a diagonal.
  3. Prepare a steamer and allow water to come to a boil.
  4. Drain glutinous rice. Place in a deep bowl. Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce, salt, pepper, five spice powder, and ½ cup (120ml) water. Mix well.
  5. Combine vegetable oil, sesame oil, and minced garlic in a small microwave proof dish and microwave for 1½ minutes on high. Remove and pour over the rice.
  6. Place rice in steamer, cover with lid, and steam for 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, fry Chinese sausages until lightly brown in a medium size pot, about 2 minutes. There is no need to use any oil. Remove sausages, leaving the oil in the pot. Set aside.
  8. In the same pot, sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Add chicken and mushrooms. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in dark soy sauce. Pour in corn starch mixture and allow it to cook for 2 minutes. Sauce should come to a boil and thicken. Turn off heat and remove.
  9. Prepare 8 ramekins or small rice bowls.Place a few slices of fried lap cheong, mushroom, and chicken neatly at the base of the bowl. Fill to the top with cooked glutinous rice.
  10. Spoon 1 tablespoon of chicken gravy over each bowl of rice.
  11. Place the bowls in the steamer, cover with lid and steam for 30 minutes.
  12. Invert lo mai gai onto small plates. Serve immediately.

Lo Mai Gai

Here are more recipes using glutinous rice. Please click on the link or image to view recipe.

Savory Steamed Glutinous Rice

Savory Steamed Glutinous Rice

Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Glutinous Rice)

Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Glutinous Rice)

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice with Sweet Coconut Topping)

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎


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  1. DongXing says

    Like your first reader, it’s about time I make this too! Shamefully, I do have 8 of these little stainless steel bowls somewhere in the cupboard and have not taken them out for use yet…. I love lo mai gai, one of my favourite dim sum choices. I think I might make this for the chinese new year reunion dinner. A one-pot dish to celebrate that evening.!

    • Biren says

      I need to buy another 4 more stainless steel bowls the next time I go back to visit my parents. They are just the perfect size for lo mai gai. Yes, this would be good for the Reunion dinner. :)

  2. Yvette says

    I am trying lo mai gai for the first time and this recipe is spot on in terms of taste and clear instructions w pictures. My family loved it. I changed the way the glutinous rice is prepared. Instead of mixing them, I fried the minced garlic and some thinly sliced shallots in oil till slightly fragrant. Add the soaked uncooked rice. Fry for about 2 minutes then add the soya sauce, dark soya sauce, salt, pepper, 5 spice powder and water. Fry until the water is somewhat absorbed. Then continue to the step to steam the rice.

    • Linda says

      Thank you Yvette for your kind comments. I am very happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed the dish and you appreciate the video and step-by-step instructions. My sons also enjoy this dish very much and I will be making it again very soon. :)

  3. Samuel says

    I am thinking of doing it wrap in lotus leave but prefer normal rice to glutinous rice. If so, do I need to soak the rice?

    • Linda says

      It is not necessary to soak regular rice. However, it will not stick together like glutinous rice would. It may turn out more like fried rice or clay pot chicken rice instead.


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