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How to cook to the authentic Lo Mai Gai (糯米鸡)

If you have not tried Lo Mai Gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken, 糯米鸡), you are surely missing out something.

Lo Mai Gai is the specialty Dim Sum of Singapore and Malaysia along with Cantonese Dim Sum like Har Gao, Shumai and Char Siu Bao popular across Asia.

Why is this Lo Mai Gai recipe works?

The amazing flavor came through beautifully with the combination the chicken, Chinese sausage, and dry shiitake mushrooms, which is the tested combination in traditional Chinese cuisine. The taste of the glutinous rice hence is unbeatable after infused with all these flavors.

The best part of cooking is, it does not require to wrap with lotus leaves, and much simpler to prepared than the Hong Kong version called Lotus Rice 荷叶饭.

It is easy to make, nearly foolproofed, and can be done in advance. (Hints: deep freeze them is possible!)

If you have not tried Lo Mai Gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken), you are surely missing out something. The amazing flavor came through beautifully with the combination the chicken, Chinese sausage, and dry shiitake mushrooms. Recipe:

The difference between Lo Mai Gai and Lotus Leaf Rice

Lo Mai Gai is the transliteration of 糯米鸡 in Cantonese, which means steamed glutinous rice with chicken.

There are two variations of the glutinous rice with chicken. In Malaysia, we place the chicken, Chinese sausage, and mushroom in small steel bowls, then topped with the glutinous rice and steam. This type of Dim sum is what we called Lo Mai Gai over here.

In Hong Kong, you will be served with the glutinous rice and chicken wrapped in lotus leaves. The Malaysian called this version as Lotus Leaf Rice or 荷叶饭. The recipe in this post is about the glutinous rice in the steel bowl, which is more popular in Malaysia and relatively easy to prepare.

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Four important tips- how to make the authentic Lo Mai Gai

Before you jump straight to the recipe (and video) below, take a few minutes to read through the notes below.

This is the detail notes on how to make the most authentic Singapore / Malaysian style Lo Mai Gai.  Let me show you how to prepare Lo Mai Gai step by step.

1. Always use chicken thigh meat

As the name goes, chicken is the main ingredients for Lo Mai Gai (sticky rice with chicken).

  • You can leave the chicken skin on or discard it. I prefer less fat and usually discard the skin.
  • Always use chicken thigh meat. Some people prefer to cut the chicken thigh with skin-on, bone-in. Most of the Dim Sum restaurants in Malaysia leave the bone on. Again this is your preference which will not affect the flavor of the final result.
  • Pan fried the chicken pieces and mushrooms with the sausage oil so that the flavor of the sausage in the oil will not go to waste.
Loh Mai Gai ingredients
Ingredients to marinate the chicken and mushrooms.

2. Soak and season the rice

  • Soak the glutinous rice for at least four hours to let the rice absorb sufficient water. The rice prepares this way will be soft and tender. This method is also used in preparing biryani rice.
  • Stir-fried the rice with the seasonings to add aroma and flavor. You may simplify this step by just marinate the rice with the seasoning for a while before steaming.
  • Saute the shallots until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and saute with the shallot until aromatic. Since garlic has less moisture than the shallot, the garlic may get burn if you start to saute with shallot at the same time.
  • You can use water instead of chicken stock to cook the rice, although it may not be so flavorful. Check the salt content of the chicken stock you use. Reduce or omit the salt if necessary. Some cooks use chicken bouillon or chicken stock granule, but I prefer my chicken stock prepared from boiling the bones.
  • Spread the rice on a large steaming tray for steaming so that it is to cook through.

3. Follow the presentation of the Dim Sum restaurants

  • Most of the Dim Sum restaurants in Malaysia use the small stainless steel bowls to steam the Lo Mai Gai. If you have difficulties to find the suitable stainless steel bowls, use any small shallow ceramic bowls or ramekins.
  • Make sure you place the cap of the mushrooms face down in the bowls. When you serve the Lo Mai Gai, the black color cap will be on top of the rice after you invert the bowl onto the plate.
  • Run the sharp knife along the edge of the bowls to loosen the Lo Mai Gai before inverting them onto the plate.
Lo Mai Gai top view

4. Other miscellaneous tips

  • Add the remaining gravy of the stir-fried chicken and mushroom to the rice before steaming. Do not worried that it is too wet. In fact, most of the less tasty Lo Mai Gai is usually too dry.
  • Cover the bowls with aluminum foil before steaming help to prevent the water condensed from the steam from dripping onto the rice, which can affect the taste of the rice.
  • If you do not intend to serve it immediately, you can either chill or freeze the Lo Mai Gai. If you want to eat it on the next day, allow them to cool and chill them in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the Lo Mai Gai to keep for a longer time. Just double wrap the Lo Mai Gai and keep them frozen. When you want to serve, reheat them on the steamer over boiling water for thirty minutes, You can do this directly from the freezer. There is no need to defrost them first.
  • Sticky rice is also called sweet rice or glutinous rice. It is all means the same thing. If you are unsure how to relate it to the shopkeeper in the Asian grocery store, just show these two Chinese characters (糯米).

The amazing flavor of Lo Mai Gai came through beautifully with the combination the chicken, Chinese sausage, and dry shiitake mushrooms, which is the tested combination in traditional Chinese cuisine.

Lo Mai Gai ingredients for rice
Ingredients to stir-fry the glutinous rice.

The Lo Mai Gai Recipe

Yield: 6 portions

Lo Mai Gai

lo mai gai

This recipe is the authentic Lo Mai Gai (Steamed sticky rice with chicken) famous in Malaysia and Singapore.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


To marinate the chicken

To prepare the sticky rice


Marinate the chicken and mushroom

  1. Cut the deboned chicken into 12 pieces. Two pieces of chicken will be used for each Lo Mai Gai.
  2. Soak the Chinese mushroom in water for two hours or until they become soft. Cut the mushroom into halves, or quarter them for the larger mushrooms
  3. Finely chop the ginger and extract the juice for marinating the chicken.
  4. Mix all the items in Ingredients A, and marinate for at least one hour or overnight if time is allowable.

Prepare the sausage

  1. Soak one Chinese sausage in hot water for ten minutes. When you see the casing of the sausage puff up, remove the sausage from the water and discard the casing. Cut the sausage at a diagonal into 15 slices. Three slices will be used for each Lo Mai Gai.
  2. Pan-fried the sausage slice over low heat for about two minutes or until slightly brown. Remove the sausage and leave the oil rendered from the sausage in the pan. Set aside.

Prepare the rice

  1. Cleaned and soak the sticky rice for at least four hours or overnight.
  2. Heat up the vegetable oil over medium heat. Saute the chopped shallots until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until aromatic.
  4. Add the rice and stir-fry it slowly.
  5. Add the remain ingredients in "To prepare the sticky rice" section.
  6. Add half a cup of water and stir fry slowly until it is nearly dry and become difficult to continue stir-frying.
  7. Add the remaining half cup of water. Turn off the heat. Stir and mix well.
  8. Transfer the rice to a steaming tray. Steam over medium heat for half an hour, covered.

Pan-fried the chicken and mushrooms

  1. Add the marinated chicken and mushroom into the pan with the sausage oil.
  2. Pan-fried the chicken on both sides until it is slightly brown.
  3. Add half a cup of water and cook for another ten minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Filling up the stainless steel bowls

  1. Pace two pieces of the mushroom and two piece of chicken and three slices of Chinese sausages at the bottles of the bowls.
  2. Divide the rice into six portions. Place each portion on top of the mushrooms, chicken, and sausages. 
  3. Fill the bowl with rice and press it firmly with a spatula. Drizzle the remaining gravy in the pan onto the rice.
  4. Cover each bowl with aluminum foil.
  5. Steam for fifteen minutes over medium heat, covered. Invert the cooked Lo Mai Gai onto a plate. Serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 1169mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/6/2019


Tuesday 12th of May 2020

I made this last night and my family loved it!!!! Thank you for your step by step instructions. I soaked my rice the whole day and cooked it for dinner. Thank you!!! Im not too sure how to post a photo but it came put really well. All that work and goodness comes in one perfect little package.

KP Kwan

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Hi Lovella, It is great to know that your family loves it. I don't think this comments section can upload any images though :) Kp Kwa

Tracy gwee

Sunday 14th of July 2019

May I know How to improve the texture of the Mai gai as the rice ended abit hard though I steamed it as instructed

KP Kwan

Monday 15th of July 2019

Hi Tracy, It looks like the rice is too dry for steaming. May I suggest the followings: 1. Soak the glutinous rice overnight instead of 4 hours. 2. More water/stock added to the rice after stir-frying before steaming.

I hope this helps. KP Kwan


Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

This recipe was delicious. Thank you! The video mentions 1 tablespoon of cornflour but the recipe reads 1 teaspoon. I used 2 tsp anyway and it turn out great !

KP Kwan

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

Thanks for trying out the recipe. It is not very crucial of the exact amount so 2 tsp should work great. Glad to know that it turns out well.


Thursday 3rd of January 2019

You included 150ml of water in the marinating the chicken section. But are we supposed to add the water into the marinade?

KP Kwan

Friday 4th of January 2019

Hi Gemma, Thank you so much for pointing out the error. The 150 ml (about half cup) of water should not be at the marinate section. It should be added after the chicken stock. Sometimes the amount of chicken stock is not enough to cook until the rice turns soft. So I add some water to cook further. (of course, you can also continue adding chicken stock. I have amended the recipe:) KP Kwan

Gim Ho

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

Hi KP,

I am very impressed with your clear and concise presentation. Really easy to follow. Your lo mai Kai recipe is really great.

I wonder if you have any record for Fan Choy?

Rgds Thio

KP Kwan

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

Hi Gim, Thanks for following my lo mai gai recipe. Never try Fan Choy, but I will keep posting the recipe that I am familiar with.

Have a nice day. KP Kwan

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