I've never mastered the art of wrapping Ba Tsang, which involves using multiple bamboo leaves and deftly wrapping the rice and filling into a tight little triangular package - a real IQ test. But I've managed to do ok with lotus leaves because the method is very similar to making a burrito. And I know how to make burritos...So there.
This recipe makes 12 lotus leaf packets.
4 dried Lotus Leaves
4 cups Glutinous (Sweet) Rice
1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1" dice
Marinade for Chicken
1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
4 tsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Shaoshing or rice wine
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup diced Chinese barbecued pork (Char Shiu), or substitute with sliced soy-braised pork belly
4 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked & diced (approx. 1 cup)
4 tbsp. soy sauce
6 tbsp. oyster sauce
4 hard boiled eggs, each half cut into thirds
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sambal (hot sauce)
1. To make rice: rinse 4 cups glutinous rice with water until water runs clear. Cover rice with water and soak at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Dice chicken and place in bowl. Add marinade seasonings to chicken, mix well, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Boil 4 large eggs: cover eggs with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, and then turn off heat. Leave eggs in pan for about 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and remove shells. Cut each egg in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 pieces. Place on a plate or container, cover, and set aside.
3. To prepare lotus leaves: cut hard stem end off of the lotus leaf and trim edges. Cut each leaf into 4 pieces. Fill sink or very large container with hot water and soak the leaves and the raffia-like ties (usually included in the lotus leaf package). Use plates to weigh the leaves down into the water. Soak for at least 1 hour, or until leaves are pliable. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry before using.
4. In the meantime, cook the rice. I use a rice cooker, because it's the easiest method. Unlike regular rice, which needs more water to cook (1:2 rice to water ratio), you just want to barely cover the glutinous rice with water before placing it in the cooker. Too much water will turn this rice into mushy glue.
5. Heat wok or large skillet over high heat and add 2 tbsp. vegetable oil. When oil is very hot, add the marinated chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add barbecued pork (or sliced pork belly), diced shiitake mushrooms, 4 tbsp. soy sauce and 6 tbsp. oyster sauce. Stir well.
6. Add hot cooked rice to the chicken mixture and thoroughly mix together. Turn off heat. Taste for seasonings (add more oyster sauce, if needed).
7. To assemble the packets: Place 1 piece of lotus leaf on a large chopping board, with the greener, shinier (top) side of the leaf facing up - filling will be placed on this side. Place about 1/2 cup of the rice filling near the stem end of the leaf. Top with 2 wedges of boiled egg and a few sprigs of cilantro. Cover with another 1/2 cup of rice filling . Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the rice and roll over once. Next, fold over the sides of the leaves and then roll over one more time to close the packet. Use the raffia-like ties (you can strip these into smaller pieces or, if you prefer, use kitchen twine instead) to tie each packet together.
8. Place rice packets in a bamboo or metal steamer and steam over high heat about 20 minutes.
9. To serve: you can eat the rice on the leaves or discard the leaves altogether and place the rice on a plate or bowl. I like this with either a little sambal (chili sauce) or Sweet Chili sauce on the side, and/or some Chinese hot mustard.
Le quattro stagioni: Cornstarch, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil.
Cut each egg half into thirds (i.e. slice each egg lengthwise into 6 pieces).