Chinese sticky rice also known as lo mai fan in Cantonese is made of sticky, glutinous rice, shiitake mushrooms, dried seafood, Chinese sausage and Chinese cured meat. It's savory, chewy, super fragrant, and full of umami! It's often served at dim sum and for Lunary New Year but is also great for meal prepping! Enjoy it with some Chinese smashed cucumber salad for a refreshing bite in between or pair it with some bok choy with oyster sauce or Chinese broccoli stir fry to complete the meal.
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Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
For the rice:
- Glutinous rice - Also known as sticky rice or sweet rice. Glutinous rice comes in 2 common varieties, short grain and long grain. For this Chinese sticky rice recipe, we recommend using long grain glutinous rice for better texture and appearance, but short grain glutinous rice is fine.
- Dried shiitake mushroom - This makes the sticky rice super aromatic. Although you can use fresh shiitake, dry shiitake mushrooms are just more shelf-stable and can be always kept on hand.
- Dried shrimps and scallops - Dried shrimps are the most common dried seafood used for Chinese sticky rice, but we like to add dried scallops as well. You can choose either one to use or use both. These dried seafoods can usually be found in the refrigerated aisles at Asian markets.
- Chinese sausage - Also known as lap cheong. These sweet and savory sausages are cured and add a very unique flavor the the sticky rice. You can find them at Asian markets and sometimes even at Costco.
- Chinese cured meat - Also called "lap yuk" in Cantonese, which simply translates to cured meat. They're usually cured pork belly but sometimes you'll also see cured shoulder/butt. We recommend using the cured pork belly for a good ratio of fat to meat. Chinese cured meat can be found vacuum packed at most Chinese markets in the refrigerated aisles. Sometimes they even come individually packed.
The rest of the dish:
- Shallot, garlic, green onion - These aromatics add additional flavors to the sticky rice and are highly recommended.
- Soy sauce and oyster sauce - These two sauces are the main seasonings needed for Chinese sticky rice. Our recipe uses light sodium soy sauce. So if you're using regular soy sauce, you may need to reduce the soy sauce by about 1 tablespoon and substitute it with some water or the dried seafood soaking water.
- Dark soy sauce - In most Chinese recipes, dark soy sauce is mainly used to add color, like in this red braised pork (hong shao rou). It's the same case for this Chinese sticky rice. If you prefer your sticky rice lighter in color, feel free to reduce the amount of dark soy sauce used or you can even omit it all together.
- Oil - Any neutral oil will do.
The right kind of rice to use for Chinese sticky rice
Chinese sticky rice, as the name suggests, is made with sticky rice, or more commonly known as glutinous rice or sweet rice. You'd often see it used in recipes for zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) and mango sticky rice.
Despite its name, glutinous rice is actually gluten free. "Glutinous" actually refers to the sticky, chewy texture of the rice after it is cooked. You'll find 2 common variety of glutinous rice, short grain and long grain. For this Chinese sticky rice recipe, we recommend using long grain glutinous rice for the best texture and appearance, but short grain glutinous rice is fine too.
How to make it vegetarian
This recipe can be easily adapted and made vegetarian friendly be omitting all the seafood and meats and using only shiitake mushrooms. You can add other mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms and king trumpet mushrooms for additional texture and flavor. Jackfruit and peanuts are also great additions.
For the peanuts, we recommend frying it in some oil until fragrant or use roasted peanuts.
Lastly, for the sauce, the oyster sauce can be substitute for vegetarian stir fry sauce or this mushroom oyster sauce. Granted, the flavor will be a different without the meats and seafood, but the sticky rice will still taste amazing!
How to make Chinese sticky rice
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
Prepare the glutinous rice:
1. Wash rice. Rinse and wash the rice a few times until the water runs clear.
2a. Steam method. Cover the washed rice with at least an inch of water and allow it to soak for at 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. After soaking, drain the rice using a sieve and transfer the rice to a steaming basket lined with damp cheesecloth. Level our the rice and steam the rice over high simmering water for about 25 minutes or until the rice is completely translucent, sticky, and chewy.
🌟 Pro tip: Drape the extra cheese cloth over the rice to prevent it from getting caught in the heat/fire.
2b. Pressure rice cooker method. Drain the washed rice through a sieve and transfer to the pressure rice cooker. Add 1 ½ cups of water per 2 cups of rice. Level out the rice and close the lid. Lock the rice cooker accordingly and select the white rice function.
Prepare the other ingredients:
1. Rehydrate dried ingredients. Place each dry ingredient in their own heatproof bowl. Cover each with hot water and allow them to soak for at least 1 to 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
2. Cut the rehydrated dried ingredients. Drain all the water from the rehydrated ingredients. For the mushrooms, remove the stem and cut into slices. The scallops can be broken into smaller pieces by shredding with your fingers. As for the shrimps, they can be left whole if you're using small shrimps or roughly chopped into smaller pieces if they are large shrimps.
3. Pre-mix the sauce. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and dark soy sauce. Mix and set aside.
📝 Note: If you are omitting the dark soy and/or using regular soy sauce (which you should use less than what the recipe calls for), add a tablespoon or two of water or the soaking water from the dried seafood.
4. Cut the Chinese sausage. Wash and rinse the Chinese sausage with hot water. Make a shallow cut along the length of the sausage and remove the sausage casing. This step is option. You can keep the casing on if you prefer. Then cut the sausage on a diagonal into thin slices.
5. Dice the Chinese cured meat. Cut away the skin of the cured meat and discard. Then cut the cured meat into small dices, keeping the fatty pieces separate from the lean.
Stir fry Chinese sticky rice:
1. Saute aromatics. In a wok or large pan over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallot and white parts of the green onion and saute until it starts to turn golden.
Add the fatty pieces of the Chinese cured meat and saute until the fat is mostly rendered and the cured meat looks golden. Then add the garlic and saute briefly until the garlic is aromatic, about 10 to 15 seconds.
2. Add the prepared dry ingredients and meats. To the wok or pan, add all the prepared dried ingredients and meats (shiitake, shrimps, scallop, sausage, and cured meat). Saute for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is evenly coated with some oil and smells fragrant.
3. Add the rice and sauce. Fluff the cooked rice and add it to the wok or pan and drizzle ¾ of the sauce over the rice. Mix, toss, and smash until the rice is even in color and has minimal clumps.
4. Finish. Add the remaining sauce and stir fry until the color is even and finish by adding the green parts of the green onions. Stir fry briefly and serve while hot.
- Unless pressure cooking the glutinous rice in the rice cooker, the rice needs to be soaked.
- Dark soy sauce's main purpose is to give the sticky rice a nice brown color. Feel free to use less or even omit it if you want your rice to be lighter in color.
- Add a couple tablespoons of water to the sticky rice when stir frying to help loosen up the rice. You can even use some of the soaking liquid from the dry shrimps and dry scallops for extra flavor.
Chinese sticky rice makes great leftover and is also perfect for making in large batches for later!
To store, transfer the sticky rice to airtight containers and keep refrigerated for up to 4 to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to use a freezer safe container if freezing and allow the sticky rice to cool completely before covering and storing.
Chinese sticky rice can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Microwave method: Place the sticky rice in a microwave safe container. Spray the rice with some water, about a tablespoon, and cover loosely. Microwave the sticky rice until hot and the rice is tender and chewy again.
Stovetop method: Roughly break apart the sticky rice first then add it to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of water over the rice and cover with a lid. Allow the rice to steam until most of the moisture evaporates. Stir fry and, if needed, break up the rice more until the sticky rice is heated through and the rice is tender and chewy again.
Chinese sticky rice is made with glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice or sweet rice. They come in short grain and long grain version and either is fine. However, we recommend the long grain glutinous rice for best texture and appearance.
Glutinous rice is also known as sweet rice or sticky rice and as the name suggests, it is sticky and chewy. Regular rice such as long grain white rice, jasmine, and basmati, do not have a chewy texture. However, depending on the grain type, they vary in starch content which makes them sticky, but no where near as sticky as glutinous rice.
Gluten free soy sauce and gluten free oyster sauce can be found at most Asian markets these days, which is the easiest way to make this recipe gluten free. If you have trouble finding gluten free dark soy sauce, you can simply omit it.
Chinese Sticky Rice
- 2 cups glutinous rice preferably long grain
- 4 pieces dry shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimps doubled if not using dried bay scallops
- 2 tablespoons dry bay scallop or use more dried shrimps
- 2 links Chinese sausage
- 4 ounces Chinese cured meat
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stalk green onion sliced (greens and whites separated)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce light sodium
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil any neutral oil for cooking
Prepare glutinous rice:
- Option 1 - Steaming method:Wash and rinse the rice a few times until the water runs mostly clear.Cover the rice with at least 1 inch of water and allow it to soak for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight. After soaking, drain the rice well and transfer the rice to a steam basket lined with damp cheesecloth. Level out the rice and drape the excess cloth over the rice and cover with the lid.Place the basket over high simmering water and steam the rice for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and looks translucent.*You can check the doneness of the rice by taste testing. The rice should no longer be crunchy at all and will be chewy instead. Do be VERY careful! The steam will be very hot!*
- Optional 2 - Pressure rice cooker method:Wash the rice a few times until the water runs mostly clear.Use a sieve and drain the rice well. Transfer the rice to the rice cooker along with 1½ cup of water (for every 2 cups of rice). Level out the rice and select the white rice setting.
Prepare the other ingredients:
- Dried ingredients:Rinse each ingredient to remove debris, then cover each with hot water. Allow everything to soak for at least 1 to 2 hours or even overnight.Shiitake: Cut off the stems of the mushrooms and cut each into slices.Scallops: Drain and shred each scallop into smaller pieces.Shrimps: Drain and roughly chop the shrimps if they are big. If you are using small ones, you can keep them whole or chop them.
- Sauce:In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce. Set aside until needed.*If you prefer your Chinese sticky rice to be lighter in color, you can use less or even omit the dark soy sauce.*
- Chinese sausage:Rinse the Chinese sausage with hot water to to remove debris. Make a shallow cut along the length of the sausage and peel away the sausage casing. You can also keep the casing on if you prefer. Cut the sausage at a diagonal into thin slices.
- Chinese cured meat:Rinse the cured meat with hot water to remove debris. Remove the skin and cut the pork into small diced pieces, keeping the fatty pieces separate.
Make the Chinese sticky rice:
- Once the glutinous rice is ready, fluff it up and set it side until needed. Keep the rice warm.
- In a large pan or wok over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced shallot and whites of the green onion. Saute until the aromatics starts to turn golden brown.
- Add the fatty pieces of the Chinese cured meat and saute until they turn golden. Then add the minced garlic and saute briefly until fragrant, about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Once the garlic is fragrant, add the shiitake mushroom, scallop, shrimp, sausage and cured meat. Saute for a couple of minutes until everything is fragrant.
- Add the fluffed, hot glutinous rice. Drizzle ¾ of the sauce over the rice and toss, saute, and smash the rice until the rice is even in color and loosened. Drizzle in the remaining sauce and saute until the rice is even in color.
- Finish by adding the green parts of the green onion and give the rice a few final tosses. Serve immediately and enjoy while warm.
- Dried shrimps and scallops - Dried shrimps are the most common dried seafood added to Chinese sticky rice, but scallop adds another layer of umami and texture. If you have both, we recommend using both. If you only have one or the other, simply double up on the one you use.