The beloved Hetty McKinnon has come up with the ultimate book of easy Asian cuisine, featuring some scrumptious dishes. To Asia, With Love (Plum) features “everyday Asian recipes and stories from the heart” and is a must for the creative cook’s kitchen library. Here we feature one of the yummy recipes, a funky Asian take on Arancini with fried rice. Give it a shot – you’ll be glad you did!
Arancini balls are a favourite in our house – what’s not to love about creamy rice packed into spheres and fried until crispy? Italian arancini are traditionally stuffed with meat, peas or mozzarella, which becomes melty and oozy when fried. This arancini recipe represents a miscellany of cultural inuences. I’ve used Chinese fried rice asthe base, to which I’ve added tomato sauce in a nod to the Japanese East-meets-West dish omurice; finally, the rice is rolled into balls, then crumbed and fried just like arancini. This is a highly adaptable dish – stuff with mozzarella or cheddar cheese, or add gochujang or kimchi to the rice for a bit of spice. The egg-flour-breadcrumb task always feels like a big job, but workflow is key – set up three bowls, arranged in order of dipping, to make it more efficient. You can also make them in bulk, then freeze the fried arancini for up to a month and reheat in the oven to make them crispy again.
Makes 12 (Gluten Free)
vegetable, sunflower or other high-temperature neutral oil
4 heaped cups (about 800 g) cooked brown or white rice (or a combination), preferably chilled in the fridge overnight
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soysauce
155 g (1 cup) frozen peas
125 ml (1/2 cup) tomato sauce, thinned with 2 tablespoons water
2 shallots, nely sliced
3 large eggs
175 g (1 cup) rice our
110 g (1 cup) dried gluten-free breadcrumbs
sea salt and black pepper
Everything Oil, Miso–Kale Pesto or Chilli–Oat Crisp, to serve
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium–high heat. When hot, pour in a big drizzle of oil, then add the rice and fry, breaking it up with a spatula, for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic, tamari or soy sauce and peas, and season with a few big pinches of sea salt. Toss well and fry for 2minutes until the peas are cooked. Add the thinned tomato sauce and toss for 2minutes until the rice is well coated. Transfer the rice to a large bowl, season with a few turns of black pepper and toss in the shallot. Taste and, if needed, season with a little more sea salt. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Break one egg into the rice and, using your ngers or a large spoon, fold it through the rice. Shape the rice into 12 even spheres, about the size of an oversized golf ball.
Set up your coating station. Beat the remaining eggs in a small bowl and season with sea salt and black pepper. In another bowl, add the rice our, and in a third, the breadcrumbs. Coat each rice ball in our, egg and then breadcrumbs. Pour about 3 cm of oil into a small, deep heavy-based saucepan and heat over medium–high heat until the oil is hot (test with a wooden spoon– if the oil sizzles, it is ready). Drop two or three arancini balls into the oil and fry for 2 minutes on each side, turning regularly until the balls are golden all over. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Continue until all the balls are cooked.
Serve the arancini with your choice of dipping sauce.
To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Hetty McKinnon