Rice and Quinoa Balls
This recipe ticks a heap of things off my checklist when it comes to food prep:
✔️ its easy;
✔️ it uses whatever you have in the fridge;
✔️ it lasts in the fridge for weekday lunches;
✔️ its satiating; and
✔️ its super healthy.
At home, we try to make this recipe, along with a few condiment recipes, like hummus, on a Sunday or Monday night so we have easy lunches and don't resort to ducking to the local greasy spoon for something that will make us feel unfullfilled, a little unwell and a bit snoozy. All that along with the added privelage of paying through the nose.
The main part of this recipe is to cook the quinoa and rice in such a way that it is basically a bonding material for all the other bits that you want to throw in there. Once you get that right, there is no way to get this wrong. With that being said you will see this is a bit of "if this, then that" in this recipe, sorry if it is a bit fast and loose 😉
For the Balls
• 1 cup dry brown rice (white works in a pinch, but you will want to cut the cooking time a bit)
• 1 cup quinoa
• 1 large grated carrot
• 1 medium grated zucchini (salted and squeezed)
• 2 scapes of eschallots, finely chopped (greens and whites)
• 1 block of firm tofu, grated (firm tofu grates fine, but you can put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier)
• we used coriander, but some type of herb if you are grossed out by coriander.
• Salt to taste
• 1 tsp curry powder for the quinoa rice mix (if you do this, I suggest a bit of cumin in the coating)
For the coating
• Freshly ground black peppercorns
• If you put a bit of curry powder in your quinoa/rice mix put in 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
For the mix
• Put your rice on to boil with a pinch of salt
• Give your quinoa a thorough rinse. You need to get that saponin coating off. Try and get your water as clear as you can 2-3 rinses is not excessive
• After boiling your rice for 20 minutes (12 if its white rice) throw in your rinsed quinoa and if you want a bit more flavour, add a tsp of curry powder
• Cook for another 20 minutes and drain
*** what you are going for here is something that will be overcooked so it sticks together ***
• While the rice/quinoa mix is cooling, start prepping your veggies.
• When the rice/quinoa mix is cool enough to handle, mix in your prepped veg and mix thoroughly.
• Place a cover onto a baking dish or grease with an oil of your choosing.
• Start shaping the mix into balls. Place the mix into your palm and squeeze them to form a nice tight ball, rotating them 45º and squeeze and continue until you are happy they are nice and tight.
*** I like to have a water bowl handy so I can keep wetting my hands so they don't get too sticky ***
• Continue until you have run out of mixture.
For the coating
We have tried with both besan and with almond flour and they each work well, so go with what you have.
Mix a bit of ground black pepper into the flour and if you wish a spice mix of your choosing (I like cumin and paprika), and whisk it with a fork until incorporated
Put a bit of oil on your hand and rub each of the balls and then roll them in the mixture until they have a nice light coating.
We have also tried and egg wash at this stage that works really well. It gives it a bit more of a crunchy coating but it definitely isn't 100% necessary.
Three options here for cooking all work really well but have different benefits/drawbacks. The main thing here is you just want to get them nice and golden before you remove them, with a nice outer crust.
1) Airfryer (200ºC)- pros: gets the balls super crunchy. cons: small batches at a time so a bit time consuming. Requires an extra gadget in the house (we love ours, but yeah it is an extra thing)
2) Oven (220ºC) - pros: big batches so less work. cons: longer cooking time so it is harder to snack along the way, doesn't get quite as crunchy
3) Fried (medium) -pros: gets the balls nice and crunchy and you get to snack along the way; cons: oily, small batches, and time consuming.