Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rice Cakes

The first time I made this recipe, found in a Hot & Spicy cookbook, I didn't have most of the ingredients listed. But I liked how it sounded, so I decided to improvise. Which, in case you haven't noticed, is generally the way I like to cook. I've made this recipe several times now, and the only time I didn't like it was when I followed the recipe in the book! So I'm going to try to give you my recipe (though it changes every time I make it and I never write anything down).

You'll need:
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh or candied ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime or key lime juice
  • 1/2 cup (as measured when uncooked) long-grain rice
  • Several handfuls of sesame seeds and cornstarch
  • Several pinches of dried basil or Italian spice mix or oregano
  • Several pinches of salt, sugar and paprika or chili powder
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Or whatever sounds good to you, really....

After cooking the rice, use a food processor to process the garlic, ginger and turmeric.

Then add the sugar, salt, soy sauce, chili powder, paprika and juice.

Add three-fourths of the cooked rice and process until it is smooth and sticky. Transfer the rice from the processor into a bowl and mix in the remaining rice. Like this:

The next step is to divide the rice mixture into small portions and roll them in the sesame seeds, cornstarch, and the remaining spices. I use cornstarch because I'm not a huge fan of the seeds being all over the outside of the rice cakes. Plus, then I can mix in more spices and add additional flavor. I mix these roughly with my hands on a plate, then spread it out evenly.

Use a bowl of water to keep your hands damp, because otherwise the rice will stick to your hands. You'll have to re-wet your hands for each rice cake. So, you'll wet your hands, pick up a small amount of rice and roll it in your hands, then on the plate. Set the completed balls aside for frying:

After you've balled up all the rice, fry or deep-fry them in vegetable oil. I drop them in the skillet, flatten them slightly and then flip when they've browned a bit.

We've had these with soy sauce and ketchup before and both worked pretty well. It's a fun snack to eat, or a nice change from the typical plain rice side dish.

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