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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baked Brown Rice Balls

I accidentally stumbled upon Baked Brown Rice Balls while looking for recipes with leftovers. And as I dug deeper and deeper, there were numerous recipes for this classic Italian dish made from leftovers. The yummiest of them being the fried ones.

Taking a bit from here and another from there, this recipe has been modified to suit whatever was available in my kitchen today. I baked them instead of frying, which is what everyone seems to be doing these days and what came out of the oven was nothing short of delicious.

Cooked Brown rice – 2 cups
Finely chopped Spring onions – 4 tsp (just the green part)
Bread crumbs – half a cup (divided into two portions)
Egg – 1 small
Italian seasoning – 1 tsp
Red chili flakes – as tolerated
Dried parsley leaves – 1 tsp
Olive oil – for drizzling
Grated Parmesan cheese – half a cup (optional)
Cheddar/mozzarella cheese – 8 small cubes
Salt and pepper

Combine the rice, spring onions, one part of bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese and the seasonings. Mix well. Take a spoonful of mixture in your hand, insert a cube of cheese in between, cover it with yet another spoonful of the same mixture and roll to form a ball. In a plate, spread the other portion of bread crumbs. Roll the rice ball in the bread crumbs and put in the baking tray. Repeat with all.

I started baking the rice balls at 350 F for 30 minutes, added 10 more minutes, lost patience and increased the temperature to 400 F and time by 15 minutes. To avoid losing control of the mind, drizzle olive oil on top and bake on 400 F for about 20 minutes or until the rice balls form a nice brown crust.

Cheese in this recipe is optional but I do not guarantee if they will taste the same, never tried them without it!

Serving suggestions
*With ketchup or dipped in Marinara Sauce
*In red gravy in place of meat balls with spagetti

*Egg has been used as a binding agent here, you can use more bread crumbs or
  corn starch instead
*finely chopped vegetables like carrots/ bell peppers can also be added to the
  rice mixture

Interesting fact
·         The art of baking was made popular by the Romans.