Mom’s Lucky Sticky Rice

Mom's Lucky Sticky Rice

Prep time overnight; Cook 45 min; Serves 4-6

My mom called me a few days before my surgery. My mother is not perfect but, she loves me fiercely which sometimes comes across as telling me what to do. I know she cried when my sister Julie told her I had breast cancer. But today, she kept it sweet and positive. She told me she had been praying to our ancestors everyday and would take on the cancer for me if she could. This was her way of letting me know how much she loved me which made me tear up.

My mom thinks of herself as lucky; she’s survived six surgeries to date including a quadruple heart bypass when in 2010. She was my role model when I learned I had breast cancer. I thought if she could make it through all those surgeries, I can make it through this. With my cancer, I was very lucky to have caught it early: stage 1, grade 1.

In those initial weeks of living with cancer, fear was my wake up alarm every morning. I would try to breathe and tell myself several times, “Every thing is going to be okay, you’re going to be fine, sweetie.” It’s amazing how this helped take the edge off. The other thing I did was start a vision board on my passion for dancing on where I wanted to perform in the next year. As a coach I teach my clients to visualize future specific goals for the best results.

Sticky rice is eaten for luck in Chinese culture especially during the holidays. In my family, I remember long afternoons where my grandmother wrapped the sticky rice mixture with lotus leaves or the Taiwanese version where my mom steamed the rice in small cans in a pressure cooker. It’s comfort food for me and I have fond memories of my mother and my grandmother coming together to prepare this lucky dish. My variation uses a rice cooker to save time and is vegetarian.


rice cooker


2 cups of sticky rice

1/2 cup of sliced dry shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup of cooked chestnuts, diced into quarters

1 1/2 cup of vegetarian stock

1-2 tsp of agave

3-6 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 cup of cilantro leaves


Sticky is not like regular rice and can be purchased at Asian food markets. When cooked, it congeals a bit. Soak the sticky rice in 4 cups of filtered water over night or for at least 2 hours. Remove the water and put the rice into the rice cooker. Soak the shiitake in 1/2 cup of water for 15 minutes. Add the broth and the shiitake along with the water it’s been soaking in for a total of 2 cups of liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and half of the cilantro and mix well. Turn on the rice cooker which is about 45 minutes on mine. When the cooker shuts off, stir and let sit for another 10-15 minutes. Serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

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