Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

I always feel that dried lotus leaf is both an ingredient and a great tool for cooking. Using it to wrap foods is simple as it can be shaped easily once softened. A piece of it alone is large enough for covering one whole chicken, if that bird is not that giant in size. Besides, it also helps preserve the moist and flavors of meats (and other ingredients) as much as foil does.

Even better is, it releases much aromas from itself during the course of cooking and imparts them to the foods being wrapped. Lotus leaf, therefore, is also a nice natural flavoring agent to me!

I like the moment the wrapped leaf is just opened when I almost ‘see’ the flavors rise. So it is always best to enjoy this dish hot and keep it covered until it is ready to serve. Yet this is at most an introduction, essentially it is the flavorful, succulent steamed meat that earns my heart.

The original recipe, 荷葉蒸雞, calls for the addition of Chinese ham (jin-hwa ham 金華火腿), but I have decided to adventure without it because my stock has yet to be replenished. Gladly, the dish turns out only slightly lighter in taste since the marinades, mushrooms, and red dates have added much aromas to the dish while masking the smell of frozen meat. You may simply add a spoonful of julienned ham and use chunks from whole chicken if you like to experience the original version.

Dried Lotus LeafChinese Dried Black Mushrooms and Red Dates
Marinaded Chicken WingsSteamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

  • Ingredients
  • 1 to 2 dried lotus leaves
  • 6 organic frozen chicken wings, ~270g
  • 4 dried black mushrooms, reconstituted
  • 6 red dates
  • 2 sprigs spring onion, green portion, finely sliced
  • Marinades for chicken (I)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce (may add a little bit more to taste after steamed)
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 sprigs spring onion, white portion, slightly crushed and sectioned
  • 3-4 slices ginger, julienned
  • Marinades for chicken (II)
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp oil, I used grape seed oil

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf


Clean and reconstitute dried mushrooms, then squeeze away excess water and thinly slice. Stone red dates and soak them in water for about 15 minutes, discard water and half each.

Thaw, wash, briefly scald chicken wings (just skipping scalding if you are not that sensitive as me, always needing to get rid of the frozen smells). Half each and pat dry.

In a wok or large pot, bring about 6 cups of water to a simmer, briefly scald lotus leaf until softened, turn over one or twice if required. Drain it in a colander, let cool and wipe dry.

Marinade chicken with (I) for about half to one hour. Then, right before doing the wrapping, add marinade (II) to chicken and mix in mushrooms and red dates.

Lay lotus leaf on cutting board or on a plate, wrap in chicken with all other ingredients like a parcel.

Put the lotus leaf parcel in a dish with shallow height (for collecting any juice drained from the fillings), steam in wok or in a steamer over high heat for 20 minutes.

Serve hot. Scissor an opening on top of parcel or unwrap the leaf to serve. Garnish with green onions.


Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

You may find some small holes or breakage over the lotus leaf; in that case simply line another leaf (or another section of leaf) on it before wrapping. That is why you may need two dried lotus leaves.

When wrapping, try not to congest chicken wings in height otherwise you may under-cook some. One easy way of avoiding such problem is to divide the fillings into smaller parcels. That is, half or even cut the lotus leaf into sectors for wrapping. And minus 3 to 5 minutes for steaming.

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  1. Joyti

    I just tried sticky rice steamed in lotus leaf for the first time a few days ago…never had anything in lotus leaf before. I can only imagine that this chicken must be SO good.

  2. TasteHongKong

    Steamed sticky rice in lotus leaf is also one of the popular dim sum here. Quality ones are very tasty.

  3. Little Inbox

    This is such a simple dish to try. It looks really tempting.

  4. penny aka jeroxie

    NICE!! No lotus leaf here unfortunately. Or maybe I have no idea where to get and if they sell to end users

  5. kristy

    Oh man, this must be so delicious. Im still looking forward to get some lotus leaves here. Thanks for sharing such luscious recipe. Have a lovely evening.

  6. TasteHongKong

    I usually find lotus leaves in grocery stores where they also sell bamboo leaves for wrapping sticky rice dumplings. Good luck!

  7. lena

    over here, we have dim sum restaurants that serve rice wrapped with this leaves, it’s nice and it adds a little aroma to the dish. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

  8. Lisa H.

    Simply divine… and I could almost taste it…
    and we were just talking about glutinous rice wrap in lotus leave.. 😀

  9. Lori

    One of my favorite thing about Asian and some Caribbean cuisines are things wrapped in leaves. Steaming dishes in leaves (we’ve most often had banana leaves) makes for some amazing food. This looks like no exception.

  10. TasteHongKong

    Indeed, they are my amazing, natural flavoring agent.

  11. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    Love cooking with lotus leaves! Your chicken looks so delicious and must taste so good!

  12. Mei Teng

    Delicious looking. Must be utterly yummy and packed with goodness.

  13. Mary Moh

    Wow…this look like from the restaurant. I can just imagine how delicious it is….all the flavour all wrapped in. I have never tried using lotus leaves. I don’y think I have seen this in the Chinese supermarket. Thanks very much for sharing.

  14. noobcook

    I absolutely love lotus leaf. I takeaway lor mai kai which is glutinuous rice wrapped in lotus leaf every week and the smell is just so heavenly. Your chicken parcel looks fantastic.

  15. TasteHongKong

    @Mary Moh,
    Same for the supermarkets here. Dried lotus leaves are usually found in traditional grocery stores here.

    Speaking of the smell of lotus leaf, am also thinking of another tasty dish, steamed rice in lotus leaf ‘荷葉飯’ … tastes great.

  16. Juliana

    Oh! I never had chicken dish done this way…must taste so good with the flavor of the lotus leaf. Beautifully done.
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

  17. tigerfish

    I don’t know where to get lotus leaf here *sob sob* ….
    this dish must be super duper flavorful yet relatively easy to put up. love it!

  18. mycookinghut

    Oh wow! This looks absolutely delicious! I have some lotus leaves at home and didn’t know what to do with them, you have given this wonderful idea! Thanks!

  19. ju

    Can u share the recipe for 荷葉飯 as well? Always ordered at dim sum restaurant but dont know how it is done. Thanks.

  20. TasteHongKong

    Yes, though I can’t confirm a schedule. Actually I had intended to do it earlier but not seeing good shrimps around when I prepared to do so. Perhaps it is now the ‘fishing suspension period (休魚期).
    It is now on my agenda again.

  21. dan fields

    i have a quarter acre pond full of healthy lotus plants and would like someone to harvest them. they have beautiful large pink flowers and 1-2 foot leaves in diameter.

  22. TasteHongKong

    @dan fields,
    Sorry for my late response. I have mentioned your situation in my recent post on lotus seeds, hopefully someone would contact you or me.
    Enjoy your harvested lotus leaves, lotus seeds, and lotus roots soon!

  23. Ying

    So good

  24. Sue

    Wow, what a wonderful way to use my left over lotus leaves. It sure looks yummy and eye catching. I’d definitely making this very soon. Although I have 1 question, do you serve this dish over steamed white rice? or better yet, with steamed buns?
    Thank you for posting all the awesome Chinese dishes. I’d stumbled on this web site when I was looking for Water Chestnut Cake.
    Have a great Chinese New Year!

  25. TasteHongKong

    I usually serve this with rice. Have yet to try with steamed buns, but that sounds to be a nice and convenient option too cause we may simply steam them side by side with the chicken (provided the steamer or the wok is large enough). Thanks for your feedback.
    Happy Chinese New Year to you too!

  26. Rachael

    The marinade of this chicken is so tasty, and is always a hit with my parents, and my little nephew and niece. Thanks heaps!(: