A very strong staple in my kitchen as I cook rice for almost every meal, and I team it with a pulse or a gravy dish. This grain has fed people for the longest time and perhaps more than any other crop. The origins date back to 2500 B.C., as a source of nutrition and is predominantly grown in Asian Countries like China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Japan.
Whenever I plan on going on a diet, the first thing I’m asked to give up, is rice. It makes me wonder, how unhealthy this grain can be! Calorie-wise, a cup of rice is approximately 200 calories and is a rich source carbohydrate. This is one of the reason why, if you are on a weight loss program, that you are asked to give up on it.
If you must have, then Basmati rice is a good option, however brown rice is also recommended. In a cup of cooked brown rice, you can expect 52 grams of carbs and in enriched short-grain white rice, it’s about 53 grams. If low-carb is the focus, then hand cooked wild rice has only 35 grams of carbs, making it the ideal option.
Rice is easy to pair with most types of cuisines, be it Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese … you get the culinary drift. At home, it’s one of the dishes that you cook with approximation; you don’t know exactly how much you will consume, so you cook a cup or two. Which means, there is almost always leftover rice for later.
I’m sharing with you three of my favorite quick fixes with left over rice. For a sumptuous snack or fix in between meals and to stave off those hunger pangs. The goal is to be efficient and use whatever you have at home. Try not to spend too much time in prepping or gathering together additional ingredients.
Cheesy Bacon Bit Balls
You will need a cup of leftover rice, salt and pepper, one egg, bread crumbs, cheese, ketchup to taste and bacon bits. Put the rice in a big bowl and add salt and pepper, one egg, grated cheese – one large cube, ketchup and bacon bits.
Fold in the ingredients well and divide into equal balls. Roll the rice balls into the breadcrumbs and then deep fry. Serve with salsa, dip or plain ketchup.
Mashed Rice Corn Balls
You will need a cup of leftover rice, boiled potatoes, cup of grated cheese, a cup of boiled sweetcorn kernels and chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, a dash of Tabasco sauce, two tablespoons of ketchup, egg-wash and breadcrumbs.
Mash the rice and keep it aside, next mash the potatoes and mix them well with the rice. Season this with salt and pepper and keep aside. In another bowl, mix in the sweetcorn and cheese with the ketchup, salt and pepper, cilantro and finally the Tabasco sauce.
Take the rice and potato mixture and make a semi-open ball – just like how you would for a dumpling to stuff. Fill in this ball with the corn mixture and finish off as a complete ball. Roll the ball in the egg-wash and then into the breadcrumbs. Deep fry each ball till its crisp and golden in color. Serve with salsa or ketchup.
Quick-fix Rice Pudding
There is an Indian sweet dish called Kheer, which is fresh milk condensed with rice and sugar while its reducing and seasoned with cardamom, and pistachios. It’s one of my favorite dessert items of all times, and takes hours to make. I’ve invented a quick compromise that is tasty and can be made in a jiffy.
You will need a cup of leftover rice, a tin of condensed milk, half a liter of fresh milk, sugar to taste, a pod of cardamom and a handful of shelled pistachio. Blend in the mixer, the rice and condensed milk, till it’s a smooth mix. Transfer this into a heavy-bottom wok or pan and heat it till the mix boils.
Slowly add in the milk, cardamom and sugar, one after the other. Let the mix boil well and then take it off the heat. Garnish with the pistachios and eat it hot or cold, the choice is yours.