I used the risotto leftover from Tuesday night's butternut squash risotto. Leftover risotto is alright but the creaminess that defines it has degrades into ho-hum starchiness overnight . Simply nuking the stuff would leave you with splodgy rice pablum. The flavor would still be there but your teeth would get bored of having nothing to do.
Luckily, leftover risotto holds together great and adheres to stuff like panko flakes and cornmeal really well, making it a great candidate for pan-fried pucks of goodness. In fact, I try to make enough risotto for leftovers so I can make these delectable treats. You need leftover risotto, freshly made risotto is still too runny and anyways, the point of this recipe is to use up leftovers.
Here’s my Fast & Dirty Rice Puck recipe:
Cold leftover risotto
Dredging stuff – eg. Flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, panko flakes
Seasoning – dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper
Oil for pan frying
1- Scoop out about 1/3 cup (eyeball it) of risotto and shape into a 3/4 inch thick pucks. Wet hands makes this much easier to do. Set aside in a single layer on a plate. Repeat until all the risotto is shaped. You could make them smaller bite size pucks. Don't make them much bigger than 1/2 cup portions . It'll break apart when you try to flip them over.
2- For the dredging, mix together your dredging choice with your seasoning choice. For 8 risotto cakes, I used about ¼ cup of cornmeal with a 1/4 teaspoon of spice mix. Dredge the cakes right before cooking or else the dredging mix will get too soggy.
3- With dry hands, coat both sides of the rice pucks with the dredging mix.
4- Heat up a couple teaspoons of veggie oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Once hot, arrange rice pucks in a single layer into the pan. Do not crowd the pan. Allow for room between the pucks. If needed, do this in 2 batches.
5- Pan fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until you get nice golden crust.
6- Transfer done rice pucks with a slotted spatula onto a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm in a 200F oven until ready to serve.
I used a seafood spice mix that my SIL gave us for Christmas. It’s a great mix of Cajun spice with a touch of curry. We also used the spice mix on some local prawns that accompanied our meal. Nothing more than just tossing a spoonful of spice mix with some prawns and sautéing over medium high heat for a few minutes. In fact, I cooked it up in the same pan right after I cooked up the rice pucks, making this a one pan meal done in less than 15 minutes. Some fresh local mixed salad finished off our meal.The golden crusty exterior was a perfect casing for the soft guts of this rice puck. DH couldn’t stop raving about them. He thinks I’m a culinary genius. I think that maybe we should keep the fact that it took me rubbing 2 brain cells together and 10 minutes to make our little secret. OK?
For dessert, I made dan taht, or egg tarts. Instead of using a flaky pastry dough, I used up the pie dough I had leftover from the sausage rolls I made earlier in the week. I rolled it out ¼ inch thin, cut out 4 inch rounds to line a medium sized muffin pan. I made a basic custard with local free range egg, local milk, sugar, flour and a few drops of vanilla extract. I poured the custard into the the pie crust shells and baked in a preheated 475F oven for 8 minutes. After that I turned the oven to broil for 2 minutes so the tops get all brown and caramelized. If you want, you can sprinkle a little sugar on top of the custard before broiling and get a crème brulee sort of effect. Or you could skip the broiling step altogether.
Custards are easy to make after a few initial burnt and/or curdled attempts. The key is to have everything on hand right beside the stove and be patient. Keep the heat low as you stir and wait for it to thicken. It will thicken eventually. Deny the urge to crank up the heat, you will be punished with a scorched pot and curdled custard.
I managed to squirrel a few egg tarts away for dinner tonight. We’re having some friends over for another small Chinese New Year dinner and a felting workshop. Not sure what I’m going to make for dinner but at least I have dessert covered.