One of my favourite Dim Sum dishes growing up was ‘Lo Mai Gai’, which is steamed glutinous rice with chicken. It is traditionally cooked in lotus leaf, but my fond memories of it always involved a dish made of foil. You’d turn the dish upside down, being careful not to burn your fingers, and peel off this round cake of sticky rice flavoured with soy sauce, and right on top of it all, a shitake mushroom, a small piece of chicken, and on some occasions, slivers of ‘lap cheong’ (dried chinese sausage). Its small portion made for a marvelous breakfast, and I would eat it as slowly as I could to relish every bite.
As a vegan, I’m grateful to have experienced such moments, and now I’m grateful to be inspired by those very moments to make plant-based food to share here!
This recipe is not quite Lo Mai Gai, but the glutinous rice has been clearly influenced by my childhood memories. I personally love how simple the rice tastes. If you wish, you could even omit the pepper-stuffing part and enjoy the rice as a meal on its own.
A tip to making sure that the peppers can stand on their own is cutting a base for them. Try to cut off as little as possible, to avoid a bottom hole in your peppers.
If you’re making the rice for guests, the peppers amp up the presentation value and the natural sweetness of the peppers compliment the rice beautifully. I would pair up these stuffed peppers with a stronger-tasting side dish, like Tempeh Fingers or Tempeh Seaweed Cakes.
Glutinous rice has an upper hand over normal rice in that it takes longer to digest and helps you feel full for longer, as testified by monks in Laos who are lucky to receive it as a food donation for their first and only meal of the day. I’m very new to cooking with glutinous rice and I’m still learning how to be creative with it. I know that once I do, it’s gonna get really fun.
For now, I hope you enjoy these peppers that are great to eat with a fork and knife in a formal setting, and can otherwise be held in your hand and nibbled away at like an edible cup. No prizes for guessing which method I prefer!
Glutinous Rice Stuffed Peppers
An eye-catching fusion of east and west cooking styles, these stuffed peppers make for fabulous appetizers or a fancy way to enjoy your rice with other side dishes.
- 1 1/2 cups white glutinous rice, soaked in water for minimum 3 hours
- 3 tbsp mung beans, soaked in water overnight
- 1 cup (80g) shitake mushrooms
- 50g snake beans / long beans
- 5 shallots, cut and diced finely
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp light soya sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 7 large bell peppers
- Step 1 Stir all rice ingredients together and steam for 35 minutes.
- Step 2 For each pepper, cut off the tops and thinly cut a base for each of the peppers. Be careful not to cut too deep to avoid making a hole at the bottom of the pepper.
- Step 3 Once rice is done, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Step 4 Stuff bell peppers with rice and place all of them upright on a baking tray, with their ‘lids’ on top. You can make them lean on each other if any of the peppers tend to topple over.
- Step 5 Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.