The first time I tried Arancini – pronounced Ar-an-chini, Was the day my husband’s office had a “bring your kids to work day”.
An Italian work colleague made these “amazing Italian rice thingys” according to my daughter… I liked the concept! Small enough to be a snack… but filling enough to pass as a light meal! I can only describe them As, ricey… meaty…. cheesy & crispy all in one!
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Last week my daughter kept going on & on about the “Italian rice thingys” so we took her to Eataly in Dubai Festival City & was sadly disappointed! They didn’t come anywhere close to the home made ones we had tried! Bland, dry & tasted too oily!
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So I decided to give them a try at home. I have adapted the recipe, there are many variations, some include mincemeat, peas or mushrooms, and usually it calls for risotto rice, but leftover refridgerated rice works well! My rice was already cooked with saffron, thats why it has the yellow colour, feel free to add some Turmeric powder while seasoning the rice to give it some colour. I went for the simple mozzarella & parmesan filling & it tasted pretty amazing! 😎
Now im a bit of a Bish Bash Bosh cook, meaning, I like to use the simplest, easiest ways to cook! I don’t cook using measurements, I play by eye…..or cup! 😂
So here is my take on Italian #Arancini. (Crispy Rice Balls)
- 1 large bowl of leftover rice.
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan.
- 1tsp dried Italian herbs (mixed herbs also works fine)
- Handful of fresh chopped parsley
- 2tsp of Cajun seasoning.
- Salt & Pepper to taste.
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten & seasoned
- All purpose flour for dredging.
To the bowl of rice add a little salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning & Turmeric if using. (Omit the salt if your Cajun seasoning is on the salty side). Add half of the mozzarella to the mix, 3/4 of the parmesan & parsley.
Mix well & refridgerate for 5 minutes, meanwhile, prepare your dredging station.
Add flour to a plate, a handful should do, and lightly beat the eggs in a bowl with some salt & Pepper. Add breadcrumbs to another plate & to them add the rest of the parmesan & a little Cajun seasoning & give it a swirl with your fingers.
Take the rice mixture out of the fridge & grab enough to make a rice ball, you can go as big or small as you like! Cup the rice in your hand then add some mozzarella in the middle and begin to form a ball, keep squeezing till it sticks together, then coat it in the flour, & dredge in the egg, then finally the breadcrumb mix. Once you’ve made all of the balls, stick them back in the fridge for 10mins or so to firm up a little. If you’re pushed for time, you can cook them as they are, just make sure the oil isn’t too hot & you dont cook too many at once or they’ll fall apart!
Heat the oil and fry in batches until deep golden brown – about 10 minutes.
These are crispy, tasty & really filling! Serve hot & with either a nice sauce for dipping, like an Italian marinara sauce, everyday bolognese, or like me… Nandos sauce! Lol.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve given these a try & if you would add any variations to my recipe & don’t forget to share!