When Eric was stationed in Japan, he told me about buying rice balls as a snack. Having never seen or heard of them around here, and being incapable of cooking rice, I proceeded to completely forget about them for several years.
Then, this week, while looking for something new and different to make I remembered them! Being blessed with a rice steamer now, I happily looked up some recipes. As all the Japanese versions I could find required seaweed which I (shockingly) don't stock in my pantry, so I turned to the Italian versions. We were quite pleased with how they turned out, and I think they'd be great at holiday parties when you want to bring something different, not expensive and not bad for you. Lol.
So here's the basic recipe to try:
Mozzarella cheese, small diced
Toss your slightly cooled (cooked) rice in a bowl with a handful of breadcrumbs. (It might actually stick together if you use cold rice.) Liberally season with oregano, basil or your preferred combination of Italian spices. Add one egg to the mixture and combine well. You should have a meatball-like consistency. If not, adjust breadcrumbs or egg amounts accordingly.
Take a 1 tbsp scoop of your rice mixture and form it into a ball around a small cube of mozzarella. Repeat until all the rice has been used.
For a crispier outside, heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet and fry the balls until golden, turning as needed.
For a healthier option, oil a glass baking dish with olive oil and line up the balls therein. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and bake at 400* until golden.
Serve with marinara sauce on the side!