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Author Notes: Leftover rice. As good as I’ve become at cooking it, storing it, re-using it, and just eating it in practically any form; it gets boring. It gets bland. It needs help. Suffice to say, my rice kick has lasted almost the whole winter, but I’m over it. I want interesting dishes with vegetables, exciting spices, odd sauces and well… just something different. But I still have all this cooked rice in the freezer. What to do?
I started reading. Asian cuisine is the go-to when it comes to using rice. After about two minutes of research on the interwebs, and several trips through some cookbooks, Rice Patties –big, unbound, cakes of rice and rice alone- like a big rice pancake presented itself as a very viable option for getting rid of all this grain in quick fashion. They called for left-over glutinous, short grain rice.
It looks like a nice snack, you can dip it like potato chips, it looks browned, caramelized and delicious.
Except, I don’t do white rice. I soak brown rice for at least 24 hours before cooking it, and don’t have a single grain of sushi rice in this house that I know of. I was not deterred by this, although I should have been. Brown rice won’t stick together. Period.
I had at least four cups of brown rice and I wanted some damned rice cakes. My first shot at this was a failure; I followed a recipe I found online for making rice cakes out of white, short-grain rice and figured I’d take a leap of faith. I leapt to failure. Not the first time, but damn.... The recipe called for a dry skillet, and rice patted down in the bottom on medium heat until crisp and sticking to itself. It never stuck. Even though it’s brown rice, it never browned; and it fell apart at every opportunity. Oh well.
I needed this stuff to stick together, so I’m sorry vegans; I had to add an egg to the rice. I infused the rice cakes with lime zest and juice as they were finishing, topped them with pickled vegetables, sautéed tomatoes and plated for dipping in soy sauce or a red and rice wine vinegar blend. It tasted wholesome, but light and acidic. It was filling, but not at all heavy.
Makes 2 patties
- 1 tablespoon Sunflower Oil
- 2 1/2 cups Soaked, cooked, cooled brown rice
- 2 teaspoons Lime Zest
- 2 tablespoons Lime Juice
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
- 5 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons Pickled Carrots
- 2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
- 3 teaspoons Red / Rice wine vinegar blend
- Pickled cucumbers and onions for Garnish
- In medium mixing bowl beat eggs, red and black pepper together with salt. Add a few teaspoons of water; more if the mixture seems thick.
- Combine add-ins with egg mixture. Meats, other vegetables like scallions, zucchini, etc before you
- combine rice with egg mixture thoroughly. Refrigerate for half an hour, covered.
- Prepare two to four sheets of food-wrap. Spoon even amounts between each of the sheets and form into evenly-sized balls. Refrigerate 10-45 minutes.
- Heat oil in pan over medium heat until hot.
- Drop rice-balls from plastic wrap into hot oil in a very large skillet one at a time, and flatten with a spatula to 1/2 - 1/3 inches thick. Do not crowd the patties.
- After fifteen minutes or so, the bottom of the patties will start to turn color; flip and press again pushing all the oil down to the bottom.
- As pancakes brown, top with lime zest and juice, one at a time.
- Continue turning and pressing until both sides of the cake have browned. Warm plates in the oven; or lay them over the hot pan while the rice cooks, be sure to wipe the moisture from the plates if you warm them over the food.
- When the plates are hot, remove the rice cakes and kill the heat in the pan; and drop tomatoes, cilantro and pickled carrots in to heat them up.
- Just as the vegetable mixture comes to heat, serve. Garnish with more pickled vegetables, a dab of soy sauce and some red/rice wine blend.