Sticky rice steamed in lotus leaf

Sticky rice steamed in lotus leaf

Michael Fountoulakis

This festive rice dish was a common part of the royal banquets from the old imperial city of Hue. Lotus is a very versatile plant with no part going to waste. The leaves make for a simple and elegant presentation of this classic dish.


Quantity Ingredient
200g pork belly
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dried lotus seeds
2 large, dried lotus leaves
5 spring onions, sliced
5 cups Sticky rice


  1. Slice the pork belly into 2 cm strips. Marinate for 30 minutes in the fish sauce, sugar and pepper. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat, add the garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant, then add the pork. When the pork is slightly coloured, cover with cold water and simmer for 1 hour until tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. In the meantime, place the lotus seeds in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Soak the lotus leaves in warm water for about 3 minutes to soften them.
  4. Divide the rice into 4 equal parts. Lay a lotus leaf, vein side down, into a deep soup bowl. Place 1 rice portion in the centre of the leaf and depress slightly to create a nest for the filling. Spoon half of the pork, lotus seeds, spring onion and some of the pork cooking liquid into the cavity. Cover with another portion of rice and compact by pressing down lightly. Fold the lotus leaf sides over the rice and place a saucer on top. Turn the lotus leaf parcel over so the rice is now sitting on the saucer. Remove the bowl and you should now have a small parcel of rice in lotus leaf. The weight of the rice will help keep the leaf in place. Repeat with the remaining leaf and ingredients.
  5. Heat a steamer over rapidly boiling water. Place the parcels on a steamer rack and cover. Steam for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and open the parcels. Beware of steam burns while doing this, but enjoy the perfume the packages release.
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