I've been looking for every opportunity to make rice ever since getting a rice cooker. Nothing beats piping hot rice, and you can use it in pretty much all the same ways as bread with a little creativity. Here's an Italian snack you can make with some rice and cheese!
- 2 1/2 c. cooked white rice
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 1 tsp. salt plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 5 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 c. panko
- Canola or peanut oil for frying
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package. Put cooked rice, chicken broth, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese, then remove from heat and let cool.
Roll the cooled rice into balls the size of golf balls. Cut the mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. There should be a bit of it left over. Push a piece of mozzarella into the middle of each ball, making sure that cheese is completely enclosed. Chill for at least 30 minutes, though it's okay to leave overnight if you need to.
Set out 3 plates or shallow bowls. Break eggs into one and beat lightly with a fork. Mix flour with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper in another, and put panko in the third bowl.
Fill a 4-qt. pot with enough oil to come 2 inches up the side of the pot. Insert a deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 340° over medium-high heat. Dip a rice ball into the flour and shake off any excess. Dip floured ball into egg, allowing any excess to drip off. Finish by coating completely with the panko. Repeat with remaining balls.
Deep-fry the rice balls, in batches, until golden brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes, letting the oil temperature return to 340° between batches. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately, with lemon wedges.
Also consider a little bowl of marinara sauce for dipping. I have it on good authority that rice dishes go surprisingly well with tomato sauces.