Some time ago, I had made onigiri, these Japanese rice balls. Then I thought it would be a good idea to try and make a “battle” between Japan and Italy and prepare the Italian equivalent of the onigiri: the Arancini.
The linguistical minute: in Italian, arancia means orange. I decided to base on this point to decide the size of my rice balls.
Result of the battle: obviously both recipes are really amazing. But I found it easier to make the onigiri. Maybe because the recipe I chose for my arancini was not very well written.
Ingredients (for 8 balls)
300 g round rice
40 g parmesan
40 g butter
1 ball of mozzarella
200 g breadcrumbs (6 French toasts)
4 g saffron*
Oil to fry
*Saffron is very expensive. But there is another spice, curcuma, which surname is “the saffron of the poor”. It has more or less the same colour, so if you can’t afford saffron, do like me and use curcuma.
Cook the rice, throw the water but DO NOT rinse it! It must be sticky. Let it cool down.
Pour the breadcrumbs in a soup plate. In a second one, pour the flour, an in a third, beat 2 eggs and add salt and pepper.
In a bowl, put the saffron (or curcuma) and 2 soup spoons hot water. Pour the parmesan, stir well, and add the last egg and the melted butter. Cut the mozzarella in small dices and add it.
When the rice has cooled down, put some on your hand, add a soup spoon cheeses mixture, cover with more rice and press in your hands to make a compact ball. Roll in the flour, then the eggs, and end in the breadcrumbs. Make 8 balls this way.
Heat up some oil in a frying pan and gently fry the arancini.
Serve warm with a green salad.
(The frying process enables to make the balls more solid and to melt the cheese. You have to serve them immediately or the cheese will no longer melt.)
The arancini can complement a recipe. For example, I served them with my beef with a shallot-mustard sauce.
Bon appétit !!!