Sesame rice balls recipe

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This is a great recipe for using up leftover rice, especially sticky rice. Deep-fried rice balls are a staple in South East Asian food halls for this very reason. This recipe is inspired by the confident American fusion cooking I came to love on my travels there.

  • Yield: 4 to 5 large balls


For the Rice
  • 5½ oz (150 g) glutinous rice
  • 1 tablespoon Thai rice, Berry rice or substitute black or wild rice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Filling
  • 2¼ oz (60 g) fresh oyster mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small banana shallot, finely diced
  • ¼ small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 spring onion/scallion, thinly sliced
For the Marinade
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • ¼ Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
  1. Soak all the rice in warm water for at least 3 hours. Rinse and drain. Put the rice in a rice steamer or pan with the salt and 500 ml/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water. If cooking in a pan, bring to the boil without the lid and simmer until almost all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and cover with a clean kitchen towel and lid. Set aside to steam for a further 10–15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, set aside to cool or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the oyster mushrooms and combine well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or so.
  3. In a deep frying pan/skillet, add the toasted sesame oil, vegetable oil, shallot, carrot and spring onion/scallion and put over a medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes, then add the oyster mushrooms, leaving any excess marinade in the bowl. Cook over a high heat for 8–10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Put all the sesame seeds and some salt and pepper on a large plate and put the aquafaba or vegan ‘egg’ substitute in a small bowl.
  5. Wet your hands and take a handful of sticky rice. Shape into a deep saucer in one hand. Put a small spoonful of the mushroom mixture into the hollow centre. Top with a pinch of kimchi and fold over the sides of the rice to make a large ball. Roll the ball in your hands to ensure the edges are well sealed. Roll the rice ball in the aquafaba or vegan ‘egg’ substitute, then in the sesame seeds. Repeat to ensure a thick crust of sesame seeds. Put on a sheet of greaseproof paper and repeat with the remaining rice.
  6. Heat the oil in a deep pan to 175˚C/325˚F. Fry the balls in small batches for 3–4 minutes on each side, until crispy all over. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with any leftover marinade, extra kimchi and hoisin.

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