As an Indian, rice plays a very important role in not only in our daily diet, but also in our culture. For thousands of years, India has been cultivating several varieties of rice – Basmati rice being probably the most popular globally.
My tasty Stuffed Rice Croquettes are a delicious way to use up leftover rice. I usually stuff them with a filling of spicy ground chicken kheema or paneer bhurji for a yummy vegetarian version or even egg bhurji (Indian scrambled eggs). These are perfect for entertaining since they can be made the day before & simply warmed in a low oven just before serving.
Now basically any rice variety will work, but the medium/short grain varieties (like Sona Masuri, Dubraj, Ambemohar or Jasmine) work a little better since they are a bit stickier than the long grain varieties.
STUFFED RICE CROQUETTES
2 cups cooked rice (cold, from the refrigerator)
¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely minced
salt & pepper, to taste
2 medium eggs
1 cup filling of choice*
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used Japanese style panko breadcrumbs)
oil for frying (peanut, vegetable or canola)
These are much easier to make when all of the necessary ingredients are well chilled from the refrigerator, so don’t bother warming anything up.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice with the cilantro leaves, salt & pepper. Mix well to combine & lightly mash the rice with the back of a large spoon. Now take a small handful of the cold rice mixture & gently shape it into a small ball (about ping pong ball size) in the palm of your hand. Next, make a nice well in the center of the rice ball & drop in about a tbsp or so of the filling. Then simply close up the rice ball so that the filling is completely enclosed inside. Set aside on a platter & continue until you have finished. Then refrigerate the rice croquettes for at least 1 hour before you are ready to fry them.
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In a wide bowl, whisk together the eggs until they are well beaten. Then spread the panko breadcrumbs out on a plate. Next, roll the chilled rice croquettes in the beaten egg to coat them well. Then roll them in the panko breadcrumbs, pressing them gently to coat the rice croquettes evenly. Transfer to a large platter & repeat with the remaining rice croquettes.
When you are ready, heat enough oil for frying in a wide deep pot (cast iron works well). On medium high heat, fry the rice croquettes until they are golden brown & crispy on all sides – turning once during frying. You may need to do this in batches. Drain well on absorbent paper towels & sprinkle with a little salt while they are still warm. Serve hot with your favorite chutneys & sauces.
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