Here is a fantastic fusion recipe that is perfect for any kind of of leftover Indian rice preparation (biryani, pulav, pilaf etc.). Biryani is a rice preparation from India which probably has a gazillion versions throughout the country. But in all versions the rice is prepared with a blend or aromatic spices, vegetables and or meat. The rice is slow cooked in all the spices so the biryani is super flavorful and fragrant. Its a meal in itself and is really powerful in flavor, for that its accompanied by light condiments like raita (yogurt dip) and different chutneys.
The biggest problem however with making biryani is that you have to make it in a substantial amount and there are almost always leftovers. Now if you are anything like me, you cant eat leftovers for more than 1 meal. In that case you are stuck with a whole lot of rice which you don’t feel like eating anymore. In situations like these its a great idea to turn them into Arancinis. Since the rice is so flavorful already you don’t need to add much to it. I just added some crumbled paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and mashed up the whole thing with my hands. I then made medium size Arancinis with it, dipped it in a cornstarch mix, coated it in bread crumbs and deep fried it. They turned out really nice. They had a crisp coating and a flavorful center. Its a great recipe to have on hand if you have leftover biryani or any kind of pilaf. Serve the Arancini wit some chutneys or sweet relish or a yogurt sauce. They freeze really well too. Fry them and freeze them in a freezer bag and reheat them in the oven as and when needed.
Serving 10 arancini
2 cup leftover biryani or pilaf
1/2 cup paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), grated or crumbled
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
vegetable oil for deep frying
- In a large bowl add biryani and paneer. Using clean hands mix the both really well. If there are any veggie chunk press to mash them. You don’t want any big chunks of veggies in the mix.
- Divide the mixture into 10 equal parts and press between your palms and shape to make tight and even rounds/balls. Use wet hands if the mixture sticks to your hand.
- Lay the balls on a tray and refrigerate for 1 hour or covered overnight.
- Heat oil in a wok or pan for deep frying.
- In a bowl add cornstarch and water and mix to make a lump free slurry.
- In a separate bowl add bread crumbs.
- Dip one arancini in the corn starch mix and turn around gently to coat well.
- Place it in the breadcrumbs bowl and shake the bowl gently to cover the ball with breadcrumbs completely and evenly. Repeat with all 10 balls. Place on a tray.
- Deep fry the arancini at medium low heat turning a couple of times till they turn an even golden brown. Remove on a plate lined with paper towel using a slotted spoon.
- Serve warm with you favorite tomato sauce or yogurt sauce or both.