It is traditional for Hanukkah to eat foods cooked in oil, but after a few days of killer latkes and bunuelos, I think we all feel the need to lighten things up a bit. These black rice fritters are pan fried, creating a crispy, satisfying chew, but without absorbing too much fat. The brightly flavored chimichurri (an Argentine parsley sauce) adds a bright, acidic counterpoint.
I developed this recipe for Hinode, which brings in a lovely black rice from Thailand that is has a longer grain and lighter texture than the “forbidden rice” you might be familiar with. It was a neat opportunity for me to work with a brand that I like very much to go through the whole process of deciding on a recipe that uses their products, developing and testing it, and then taking the photographs.
The recipe calls for smoked paprika, which is one of my favorite ways to incorporate complex, smoky flavors into meatless meals. If you don’t have it, you can omit it, or substitute a few pinches of plain paprika and cayenne, but I really recommend picking up the smoked Spanish kind if at all possible.
Hinode Black Rice Fritters with Chimichurri
Vegetarian and gluten free
Yields 12 fritters, serving 4 as an entree
For the chimichurri
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine or pressed
- 1 cup well-rinsed parsley leaves, lightly packed
- 1 cup well-rinsed cilantro leaves, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup red onion, minced (or add to food processor before herbs)
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
- In a small food processor, combine the olive oil and garlic and run until the garlic is well distributed. If you don’t feel like mincing the onion by hand, you can add it in chunks now, but it won’t look as nice. If you don’t have a small food processor, make a double batch as a full size machine won’t work well on this small quantity.
- Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper and vinegar and process until minced but with still a bit of texture left in the leaves.
- Remove from the food processor and mix in the onions and capers.
- Taste and adjust salt, pepper and vinegar as needed.
For the black rice fritters
- 3 cups cooked and cooled Hinode black rice (1 cup dry, cooked according to package directions)
- 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Several grinds black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Flaky sea salt
- In a medium bowl, stir together the rice, eggs, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and pepper.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Place a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and swirl it around the pan. Take about 1/4 cup of the fritter mixture, place it in the pan and press down to form a pancake, about 5″ in diameter. Fry until golden brown one side, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Remove to the paper towel-lined plate and add a few grains of flaky salt. Repeat for the remaining fritters, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan.
- Serve hot with the chimichurri sauce on the side.