Crunchy Cheesy Rice Balls w/ Cumin Chicken

Last night I made the rice balls I’ve been describing and contemplating for so long. I had two thawed chicken breasts, and my mother requested my Cumin Chicken dish. To accompany it I sautéed some carrots & onions, and Steff made a spinach & arugula salad with grated carrots and green onions.

Cumin Chicken
2 chicken breasts, pounded & cut into strips
kosher salt
smoked paprika

This is the easiest chicken in the world. 2 chicken breasts made about 8 pieces, cut down to be manageable. I coated each piece with kosher salt, a lot of cumin, and just a dash of smoked paprika. Pat it on like a dry rub. Flip & repeat on the other side. Let sit 5-10 minutes so the spices will form a crust, then pan-sear for 4-5 minutes per side on medium-high heat. You can use a little cooking spray or a dash of olive oil for each piece, cooking them just a few pieces at a time so you won’t overload the pan.

It may smoke a little, but trust me. Don’t touch the chicken for at least 3 minutes. The crust on this chicken rivals frying, but it’s much healthier and diabetic-friendly because the spices don’t add any carbs.

Crunchy Cheesy Rice Balls
Basmati rice, cooked
parmesan cheese
romano cheese
bacon, diced
green onions, diced
bread crumbs
1 egg

I’m not listing amounts because it’s all up to personal preference. I cooked 12 cups of rice on Wednesday night and used half of it for the rice balls. Basmati has to be rinsed thoroughly before it’s cooked. The ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part rice. Instead of water, I use chicken broth for a fuller, richer flavor. Boil the rice with all of your herbs, but save the cheese and other fun stuff to be mixed in afterward.

Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork so it’ll separate and not gum up. This is particularly important with Basmati rice.

After the rice cools enough to handle, mix in your cheeses, bacon, and green onions. You can also add roasted garlic, thinly sliced onions, etc. Sky’s the limit. Don’t add the egg until the rice is completely cooled, otherwise the egg will cook. You want the egg proteins to remain loose and act as a binder to hold the rice together.

With the rice mixture together, stash it in the fridge overnight to cool and coagulate. Next day, take handfuls of rice, form them into vaguely ball-like shapes, coat with flour, dredge in egg wash, and coat with bread crumbs. Set aside in a pan or on a baking dish to allow the breading to set. For better crunch, I ran each rice ball through the egg wash and bread crumbs a second time. They’ll be firmer, stay together better, and crunch much more satisfactorily.

Deep-fried at 375º for about 5 minutes. I did them in batches of 6 and set them aside afterward on cooling racks so any excess oil would run off and leave the balls crispy.

sounds and LOOKS delicious!

Thanks, Liz. At this point the rice balls are history. They were popular, and they make a very convenient snack. Fortunately, I had some of the mix leftover. I pressed it into an ice cube tray and stashed it in the freezer. Now I have a freezer bag full of cube-shaped, unbreaded rice balls-to-be. That should make next time easier.