Lor Mai Kai (Gai) – Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken (and other things)

Lor Mai Kai is one of my favourite comfort foods, plus it has no onions (this is in regards to my post about food allergies). It’s one of those dishes that you can make and freeze up to enjoy later. I had this recipe passed on to me by my aunt some years ago and because the instructions caused me some confusion. I decided to re-write it. Let me know if the steps are not as clear in the comments below. I plan to add a video (yikes!) on how to make it. Seeing that I’m very uncomfortable hearing and watching myself on videos, I’m getting better with photoes, I tend to shy away from doing the things I love. For you lovely folks following me, I’ll do it, just for you ;).

There are different styles of Lor Mai Kai available but this recipe is the closest to the ones sold in Malaysian Chinese Restaurants selling steamed buns like Char Siew Pau, Red Bean Pau, Siu Mai platter and so on. Below is an image borrowed from Cavinteo’s blog to show what the restaurant’s steamer looks like in a ‘Coffee Shop’ in Malaysia.

Image from Cavinteo’s Blog: See the Steamer for Buns and Lor Mai Kai is among them.
Home made version of Lor Mai Gai

Lor Mai Kai (Gai)


250 grams glutinous rice
1 cups water/chicken stock
100 grams chicken meat
100 grams char siew (chinese bbq pork) -sliced (optional)
1 chinese sausage (lap cheong)-sliced (optional)
10 grams of black chinese mushrooms (soak for a couple of hours and cut into thin slices)

Seasoning (A)

1 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp ginger juice (grate about an inch of ginger and squeeze the juice with your hand)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Shau Hsing Hua Tiau wine (Chinese rice wine, see image below)
1 tsp oil
1 tsp starch (tapioca, corn, potato starch works too)

Seasoning (B)

1 1/2 tsp light soya sauce
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sugar (you can sprinkle more if you like it a bit sweeter)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp of oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp of dark soya sauce (if you’re using the thinner version and not the caramelized version add 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder


  • Wash glutinous rice and let soak for an hour or two (soaking too long may make the rice more soggy, you don’t really want that because the steaming process will make up for it)
  • In the mean time the rice is soaking, cut chicken into slices. Marinate with seasoning (A) for about one to two hours in the fridge (the longer it has time to marinate the more the chicken will soak up the seasoning).
  • Next, take the soaked glutinous rice (drain the water) and cook it with the chicken stock or fresh water (in a steamer (about 30 mins) or in a rice cooker (pretty much automatic), or if you prefer microwave it (13 mins-15 mins depending on the wattage, I use 600)). Once ready, allow to cool.
  • Next you can pre-cook your chicken with the chinese mushrooms either in the microwave or just on a wok. (I stir fried this batch on the wok). Set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Mix Seasoning (B) to your cooked glutinous rice. You can pinch the rice to taste and adjust the salt and sugar levels.
  • Once satisfied, construct the bowl by placing a few slices of chicken, mushroom, char siew (if using) and lapcheong (if using) and pressing a ladle of rice onto it. (See below for ‘plating’ (constructing in bowl) help)
  • If you’re using the steamer pre-heat the steamer before placing the ready pressed Lor Mai Kai in it. If you’re planning to use the microwave, I would suggest sprinkling about two to three Tablespoons of water on top of it before cranking the microwave up to avoid drying out, use a cover to preserve moisture and give the steaming effect.
  • If you’re using the steamer, place as many bowls as you can fit in your steamer and steam for about 20 mins.

When it’s done just turn over the bowl onto a plate and enjoy!


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The rice wine (hard to obtain in Finland). I’d recommend buying it when you go to London’s Chinatown ;).

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