Auntie Ruby's Loh Mai Kai - Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Loh Mai Kai. 

It has been a long time since I had a good one. It was my childhood favourite. The Siew Pau stall sold this. He will move the stacks of bamboo steamers around to get to the Loh Mai Kai bowls. Then, scooped out of shallow aluminum bowls, it was served on a plastic plate with chili sauce. Memories.

It is nothing like that sold in aluminum foiled dishes in many coffeeshops here, with a cardboard stuck on the top carrying the brand and name of the supplier. Outsourcing. Clearly, convenience has triumphed once again over effort and passion when it comes to cooking.

This is why I am intrigued by stories such as this on Muah Chee scooped by Ieat here. There are some who still believe that food should be done well even if most customers don't care.

I wish I could tell you that what you see above is bought from somewhere here in Singapore. And I am happy to know if you have some "lobang." (tips).

My Mum made this once in a while. I can remember seeing bowls of it piling up in the fridge.

So, since I have discovered a more convenient way of making good glutinous rice, Loh Mai Kai naturally came to mind.

We served "breakfast delights" at a recent Alpha Course dinner: Auntie Lucy's Yam Cake, Auntie Rose's Pei Tan Chok (Century Egg Porridge), Auntie Rose's Yeu Tiao in Almond Cream and of course, Auntie Ruby's Loh Mai Kai.

It was a fantastic meal of traditional favorites as the Aunties' skills came to the fore. I hope to blog their recipes one day.

If you love this, the good news is that you can make it at home.

Auntie Ruby's Loh Mai Kai - Steamed Glutinous Rice with  Chicken

For about 20 small bowls

500 gm glutinous rice
300 gm boneless chicken thigh meat
5 pieces of Shitake mushrooms
2T lard or cooking oil
1 bowl of water
1 chinese sausage
soy sauce

marinate for chicken:1t dark sauce
4t soy sauce
1t sesame oil
1t sugar
2T chinese wine (optional)
1T rose wine (optional)

  1. Soak rice overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Marinade the chicken.
  3. Pour away the water and steam it for 40 minutes. I use the “splatter guard” method
  4. Soak the mushrooms till soft. Quarter it.
  5. Heat up the wok and add the lard/oil. 
  6. Add the mushrooms. Fry for about 2 minutes and add the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the fire. Remove the mushrooms and leave the sauce in the wok.
  7. After the rice is steamed (45 minutes), add it to the sauce in the wok. Using a rice ladle, gently stir and mix the rice.
  8. Add some soy sauce and wine. Taste and adjust.
  9. Prepare the bowls. For eah, add a slice of sausage, piece of mushroom and chicken at the bottom.
  10. Scoop in the rice and press firmly with a tablespoon to flatten it. 
  11. Steam the steel bowls for 20 minutes. If you are using a ceramic bowl, you may have to stem longer.  
  12. Use a tablespoon to gently dislodge the rice and present it inverted.
  13. Serve the Lor Mai Kai warm.
Fried Chicken and mushrooms
As always, this recipe is just a guide.

After you stirred the sauce into the steamed rice, taste it. Adjust with soy sauce or sugar if necessary. You can use a slice of Char Siew in place of the sausage. Or add pork belly in place of the chicken. Even the steps are just a guide and you can adjust as you see fit. Ceramic or plastic bowls do not transmit heat as well and so, I prefer to fry the chicken separately first. If you are using steel or aluminum bowls, you can skip the frying step ( as in recipe) and just add the raw marinated chicken and the rest straight into the bowls before steaming.
"bowling" the ingredients

When cooled, you can fridge it and it keeps well for a few days. Just steam it before serving.

You can serve Loh Mai Kai garnished with scallions or coriander leaves. Some chili sauce would be nice too.

And read this: you should always eat Loh Mai Kai with chopsticks. Unless you are hopeless with them(after a few minutes of trying, I suppose you can stick your face into it and eat away if you are famished), there is the joy of eating which comes with picking up small portions and enjoying each bite. Delicately.
Ready for a final steam

Eating a dish properly is as important as cooking it well. We will talk about using proper utensils in another post.

Meanwhile, give this a try.

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  1. Do you have any tips on how to make sure the rice doesn't get too gooey/watery?

  2. Oops, just clicked the link to the Splatter Guard post and discovered your secret!

  3. Hi, may I know if you oiled the bowls before putting in the ingredients and rice?