lor mai kai

Authentic and Flavourful Wholegrain Lor Mai Kai

Everybody has a few favourite childhood dishes they’ll always love. Lor mai kai is one of mine. But it’s so readily available in Singapore that I wondered if it was worth the effort to cook my own. The only reason I would do so, I surmised, was to make a healthier version of it that can’t be found anywhere else!How can you make such an unhealthy, carb-laden dish, healthy?? By adding wholegrains, using lean skinless chicken in place of the usual fatty chicken parts, adding extra mushrooms and roasted chestnuts, and halving the soy sauce and lap cheong! Verdict from my friend and his family who tried my recipe: it’s a keeper! Totally worth the effort, super flavourful, and so much more generous than the rice-filled commercial lor mai kai out there. To make up for the reduced salt, I increased the five spice powder and pepper to rely on more natural flavourings.

Unfortunately I couldn’t bring myself to remove the lap cheong and salted egg yolk from the recipe as that’s what gives it some of its unique authentic flavour. But I certainly reduced it from the original recipe which I was inspired from here and here. I also chose a lap cheong that had the least fat inside (you can check from the nutrition information panel by comparing the 100g column). If you’d like to be even healthier, replace the lap cheong and salted egg yolk with more chicken and fresh egg yolk instead 😉

I did some research on what wholegrains I could use to add to the glutinous rice, and found that a mixture of equal parts brown rice, oats, pearl barley, buckwheat, sorghum and black glutinous rice, could re-create some of the sticky texture of glutinous rice without detracting from the original texture. I mixed 25% of wholegrains with 75% white glutinous rice. Of course, the more wholegrains you use, the better! If you only have one of these wholegrains (e.g. pearl barley), it’s perfectly fine to just use that as the 1/2 cup portion.

Authentic and Flavourful Wholegrain Lor Mai Kai

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1/2 piece of lap cheong, sliced thinly
10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, quartered
1 piece of skinless chicken thigh, cut into cubes (marinated with seasoning for chicken for at least 1 hour, see below)
1 salted egg yolk, crumbled into pieces
1.5 cups white glutinous rice and 0.5 cup equal mixture of brown rice, oats, pearl barley, buckwheat, sorghum and black glutinous rice (washed and soaked overnight, or at least 3-4 hours)
10 pieces roasted chestnuts

Seasoning for chicken:

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
2.5cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
a pinch of white pepper

Seasoning for Glutinous Rice

1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder

Method

  1. Drain water from soaked glutinous rice and wholegrains. Place in a large bowl. Season it with the seasoning for glutinous rice and mix well. Add in 1/2 cup water to help soften the wholegrains.
  2. Place bowl of glutinous rice and wholegrains in steamer, cover with lid, and steam for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, stir-fry lap cheong until lightly brown for about 2 minutes. Take lap cheong out and set aside, leaving the oil behind.
  4. In the same pan, add a few spoons of the chicken marinade and the sliced mushrooms to fry until fragrant. Add chicken and stir-fry till browned, but not yet cooked through (about 2 minutes).

Assemble the Lor Mai Kai

  1. Using 8 small rice bowls, place 1-2 slices of fried lap cheong, mushroom, and chicken, crumbled bits of salted egg yolk, and 1-2 chestnuts at the base. Fill halfway with the cooked glutinous and wholegrain rice. Add a second layer of the ingredients, then fill to the brim with a second layer of cooked glutinous and wholegrain rice. Add around 1 tablespoon water into the bowl to allow easier cooking of the rice and wholegrains.
  2. Steam for another 30 minutes. Remove from steamer, then once cool enough to handle, flip it over onto a serving plate.
  3. Serve steaming hot, preferably with lots of green leafy vegetables like chye sim and kai lan!

Hope you enjoy this lor mai kai as much as I did!

lor mai kai