Lotus leaf wraps (Lo mai gai)

We love this popular dim sum dish of parcels of steamed lotus leaves filled with sticky rice, Chinese sausages, chicken, pork and vegetables.

Lotus leaf wraps (Lo mai gai)

Photographer: Andrew Hayes-Watkins


Prep time
30 mins to 1 hour
Cooking time
10 to 30 minutes


  • 4 lotus leaves, cut in half
  • 200g glutinous rice
  • 4 Chinese dried black mushrooms
  • cabbage leaves, for lining steamer (optional)
  • 200g skinless chicken thighs
  • 100g pork loin, chopped into small pieces
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or you can use dry sherry)
  • 2 1⁄2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for stir-frying, or as needed
  • 2 Chinese sausages (lap cheong), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1⁄4 tsp sesame oil
  • freshly ground black or white pepper


  1. Start preparations an hour before you want to cook. Soak the lotus leaves in hot water for 1 hour, then pat them dry. Cover the rice with water and leave it to soak for 1 hour, then drain.

  2. Soften the dried mushrooms by soaking them in hot water for 20–30 minutes. Squeeze out any excess water, remove the stems and chop the mushrooms finely.

  3. Line a bamboo steamer with baking parchment or a cabbage leaf and add the drained rice. Half fill a wok or large saucepan with water – the steamer needs to sit above the water without touching. Place the steamer over the water and bring the water to the boil, then cover the rice and steam for about 20 minutes. Remove the rice, cover and keep warm while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

  4. Cut the chicken into small cubes about the size of a postage stamp and place them in a bowl. Cut the pork into pieces about the same size and add them to the same bowl. Then add the salt, a tablespoon of the rice wine and a teaspoon of the cornflour and leave the chicken and the pork to marinate for 20 minutes.

  5. Put the remaining rice wine in a small bowl with the soy sauces. In a separate bowl, dissolve the remaining cornflour in a tablespoon of water, then whisk this into the wine and soy mix to make the sauce.

  6. Place a wok on the heat and add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until you can smell its aroma (about 30 seconds). Add the chicken cubes and pork and stir-fry until they turn white and are 80 per cent cooked through

  7. Add the sausages and the mushrooms and stir-fry for a minute. Give the sauce another quick stir, then add it to the middle of the pan, stirring quickly to thicken. Season with pepper to taste and cook for 1–2 more minutes to mix everything together and finish the cooking of the meat. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and leave to cool.

  8. Divide both the rice and the filling into 8 equal portions. Lay a lotus leaf in front of you on your work surface. Place some of a portion of rice mixture on the centre of a lotus leaf and add a portion of filling on top, shaping the rice with your hands so that it forms a ring around the filling. Add the rest of that portion of rice to cover the filling.

  9. Form a square parcel with the lotus leaf and tie it up with cooking twine. Repeat with the remaining lotus leaves and filling until you have 8 neat parcels and put them on a heatproof plate.

  10. Place the plate of filled lotus leaves in a bamboo steamer over boiling water and steam for 15 minutes, or until they are heated through, then serve.