Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Yummy, comforting deep-fried rice balls filled with ham and onion, stuffed with melty, gooey cheese! I came up with these tasty little morsels after having something similar at a tapas restaurant in my hometown. Sadly, that restaurant closed its doors, so I was forced to recreate my favorite dish. *I have made these with havarti and swiss cheeses instead of the cheddar: all are equally good!* NOTE: After reading the review, please note: You definitely want to use rice that is somewhat sticky. Do not use leftover fluffy rice that has had the starch rinsed off as they will not hold together well.
- 3 eggs
- 2 1⁄2 cups cooked rice
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup ham, finely diced
- 1⁄3 cup butter, melted, plus
- 1 tablespoon butter (for sauteing onions)
- 2⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, grated or 2⁄3 cup romano cheese
- 1⁄4 cup onion, minced
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 1 -2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese (cut into small cubes)
- oil, for deep-frying
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup flour, for coating
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs or 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Saute onion in 1 T butter over medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a bowl lightly beat 2 eggs. Stir in cooked rice, ham, melted butter, Parmesan cheese, sauteed onion, seasoned salt, garlic salt, parsley and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll into 1-1/2-inch balls.and press a cheese cube into each ball, reshaping around the cheese.(I have used havarti and swiss in place of the cheddar with fantastic results!).
- Place the flour into a small bowl. Whisk 2 eggs in a second small bowl. Place the dry breadcrumbs in a third small bowl.
- Dip each ball into flour, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs.
- Heat oil to 375 degrees, then fry rice balls until golden brown (about 4 minutes). You can also shallow fry them in oil, turning to brown.
- Drain on paper towels and enjoy! They are nice dipped in french onion dip, ranch dip or all on their own.
These were pretty tasty, but I had a very hard time getting the balls to stick together. They tended to fall apart as soon as I stopped pressing them as I tried covering them w/flour, etc. Adding more egg made it worse. More rice didn't help. I didn't want to add flour since I knew flour wouldn't cook through during the short deep frying. Adding some bread-crumbs to the mixture did the trick nicely and kept the balls together like snowballs.
I guess arborio rice or slightly overcooked rice would work better for arancini. I always de-starch my rice by cold rinsing after the first boil. It makes for fluffy rice, but for this recipe sticky rice would be best.
I used chorizo sausage in lieu of ham, chopped to bits in the mini-processor. It added a nice complexity to the flavor. Covered w/ marinara, following the Italian tradition. Green beens completed the meal.