At Christmastime, we have a holiday ritual. We head to my mom and stepdad’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. The next morning we wake up and head back to their house for stockings, presents and “Teacher Appreciation Eggs.” We head back to our house for more stockings, presents and Alex’s mom’s tamales. Finally, we head to back to my parent’s house for Russian Pirozhki, which are fried dough pockets filled with dilled meat and onions. My contribution to these traditions is quite small. Wanting to do something to help, I offered to make the rice and beans for the tamale lunch at our place. I attempted to make fluffy white jasmine rice, spritzed with lime, and mixed with cilantro and green onions. While tasty, my rice turned out totally sticky vs. the fluffy I was after. I’m sure my mother in law was wondering why she agreed to let me make the rice, especially since she prefers the Spanish style rice with tomatoes and onions. C’est la vie.
Life lesson #3,456: When life makes your rice sticky, make rice balls. Left with a pile of uneaten sticky rice, I wanted to make use of it somehow. I had rice and I had cheese. I had told my mother in law I was going to make rice balls, and she was the one that suggested the salsa. I was a little skeptical. What goes with salsa? Chips. Mix all this together, and you get quite the leftover treat. What a happy accident! Skepticism banished.
Crispy Rice Balls
- 1 c leftover lime & cilantro sticky rice, chilled (*)
- 1 c cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 c ricotta cheese
- 1 c crushed tortilla chips (**)
- 2 c oil
- Alex’s Mom’s Salsa
In a bowl, mix together the rice, cheddar cheese, and ricotta until well blended. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out rice balls and form a sphere, and coat with tortilla chips. Preheat the oil in a small to medium sized sauce pan (the smaller the pan, the less oil you will need). Sprinkle some chips into the oil, when the bubble and rise to the top it’s time to fry the rice balls. Working in batches, fry the rice balls for 2-3 minute until golden brown, and place on a paper towel to drain. Serve warm with salsa on the side for dipping.
Makes about 1 dozen balls.
(*) To ensure sticky rice, I suggest making a CalRose/Short Grain Japanese rice, and mixing in the juice of 1 lime, and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro and green onions just before serving. Arborio rice will have the same result.
(**) I put half my chips in a spice grinder to make a power and the other half in a plastic bag and rolled a rolling pin over them until they were finely crushed.