Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sticky Rice

Photos by Phoenix Zhang.

Steamed lotus root stuffed with sticky rice is a hallmark of China’s Jiangnan province, but the dish is well known throughout the country, and it dates all the way back to the Qing dynasty. My mom, who taught me this recipe, has used cooking as a way to keep me and my brother acquainted with our Chinese culture. Her version is complex, so I made some simplifications. The combination of the lotus root’s soft texture and the sauce’s sweet taste makes for a great dessert, and one that’s quick and easy to make. 

Ingredients and materials:

  • 4 lotus roots 
  • 40g of sticky rice
  • ½ tsp of brown sugar
  • 8 red dates
  • crystal sugar
  • osmanthus sauce
  • 8 toothpicks


  1. Soak the rice for 4 hours.
  2. Wash, but don’t peel, the lotus roots.
  3. Cut off a 2 cm slice from each root.
  4. Put the rice inside of the roots.
  1. Use toothpicks to reattach the severed slices.
  1. Put red dates, crystal sugar and brown sugar in a medium-sized pot.
  1. Add water.
  2. Put the lotus roots in the pot and steam for 30 mins.
  3. Add the osmanthus sauce.

Yields 4 servings.