Tips To Make Rice Balls For A Perfect Dinner Party
You may be thinking about serving steamed rice at your dinner party but how about making something really different. Rice balls are a delicious but different way of serving rice. Steamed rice can be seasoned with sauces, shaped and even stuffed to form easy-to-pick up rice balls. You can serve them by themselves with a range of sauces or serve them as an accompaniment to a main dish.
How to Prepare and Shape The Rice Balls?
1. Choosing and Preparing the Rice
Some people prefer to use long-grain rice, jasmine rice or Basmati rice to make the rice balls. For these rice varieties, the rice grains have to be overcooked. However, this will result in a glutinous sticky mass that is not really all that nice. We suggest you find Japanese – style rice which is also referred to as japonica rice or uruchi-mai rice. The grains can be steamed or boiled to create distinct rice grains that still stick together after cooking without turning mushy.
Before making the rice, the rice grains have to be rinsed completely to remove extra starch from the rice. The rice is then simmered in hot water till cooked and it’s then shaped to make rice balls. Instead of using hot water, you can also use vegetable or meat stock which will impart a nice taste to the rice. As soon as the rice is done, the hot steamy rice has to be shaped into rice balls. You can choose to season the rice at this stage with rice vinegar, salt, sugar etc. You can also choose to stuff the rice balls at this stage.
If you want a simpler process, you can use a mixture of glutinous rice flour, regular rice flour and water to make rice balls, stuff them and steam them to form rice balls. The rice dough can be colored and seasoned with sweet or savory ingredients to make flavored rice balls.
2. Choosing the Stuffing
You can use any variety of stuffing for the rice balls. We suggest you use strongly flavored salty fillings which merge well with the rice. For example, chefs do use seasoned and flavored tuna, flavored salmon, hard boiled eggs, ground beef or pork flavored with soy sauce, curried turkey or chicken or mince, corned beef, pickles etc. If you want sweet variations, you can stuff the rice with jaggery, sweet bean paste, sweet peanut paste etc
3. Cooking and Serving the Rice Balls
It’s not necessary to cook the rice balls again but you can deep fry them or sauté them gently to create a crunchy exterior. If you are serving them as an accompaniment to a main dish, you should serve them without any extra cooking. If you are serving them as appetizers, you can gently sauté them and serve them with sauces like teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, barbeque sauce etc. If you are using readymade rice flour to make the balls, you will have to steam them beforehand.
You can use 4-cups of rice to make about 4 fair-sized rice balls. You can adjust the rice to make smaller or larger balls.
If you cannot find Japanese rice, you can also use medium grain rice, sushi raice or germ rice. This rice grain is more nutritious and it very healthy in rice balls. Please note though this rice will require more water and more time to cook. If you cannot find any variety of Japanese rice, you can always use Arborio rice or risotto rice, vialone rice or carnaroli rice which is also called as medium grain rice.
In Japanese cuisine, rice balls are referred to as onigiri. In Japanese specialty stores, you will be able to find readymade molds that are specially designed to make rice balls in a variety of shapes.
Rice balls are an elegant way to serve rice at your dinner party. Stuffing them with a range of fillings creates a range of textures and tastes that can be very pleasant with sauces. These balls can be low in fat but we do advise you to eat in moderation. Do you have a recipe for rice balls? Share it with us here.