Thursday 7 June 2012

Brown Rice Cakes

I’m a child of the 1970’s.  I was a teen and young adult during that decade, and did my first real cooking then. 

How many of you remember the 1970’s? 

For those of you who are too young to remember them, much of what is now attributed to the 1960’s actually took place in the 1970’s. 

The 70’s saw the end of the Viet Nam war. 

Hippie-dom was alive and well. 

It was the decade in which we took brown rice, granola, and yogurt into our diets. 

It was the time of “back to the land,” and the decade in which the term “whole foods” first entered our vocabulary.

We were on the right track about food:  We understood that the processed foods that had been touted as miraculous in the decades following the second world war were, in fact, bad for us, and we began looking for a return to healthier, more natural foods. 

Although we avoided processed foods on principle, the role of fats in our diet was barely a blip on our nutritional radar.  We had little understanding of the damage hydrogenated fats could do, or about the importance of limiting the amount of fat in our recipes. 

Technologically speaking, the kitchen of the 1970’s was a very different place from our kitchens today:  Microwaves were very new, very expensive, and not commonly seen in home kitchens.  They were never seen in office lunchrooms.  Even refrigerators were considered a lunch room luxury.

There were fast food outlets in the 1970’s, but they were not as common as they are now.  A person could walk for blocks- even miles! - without seeing a MacDonald’s, Burger King, or KFC, and Starbucks was not yet even a concept.  Snack food and take out dishes were not as readily available as they are today so, unless you had the time and money to enjoy a sit down meal in a restaurant, a work-a-day lunch took some actual planning. 

Where am I going with all this? 

Well, I’m about to share a recipe from back in the day. 

I used to take homemade brown rice cakes in my lunch back then, along with some cheese, and an apple.  It was a simple, inexpensive, balanced meal that didn’t require refrigeration.  I could count on it to fill me up. 

Because they’re fried, I don’t eat brown rice cakes as often as I used to, but I do still make them.  They’re inexpensive, and rich in B vitamins, iron, and protein.  My husband loves them.  Besides, they’re a great way to use up leftover rice!

To make brown rice cakes, you’ll need:

  • 1-1/2 cups cold, cooked brown rice
  • 3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • A mix of sunflower (or peanut) oil and toasted sesame oil for frying
Combine everything except the oils in a mixing bowl.  Work the ingredients together with one hand. (The mixture will stick to your hand like cement.  You don’t want to get both hands all sticky.)  When the mixture will hold together in a ball when compressed in the palm of your hand, it’s ready to be formed into cakes.

Wash your mixing hand off and then wet both of your hands in cool water.  Use your wet hands to form the rice into cakes.  I usually get five or six rice cakes from a batch of this mixture.

When the rice cakes are formed, set them aside and pour 1/4 inch of oil (I usually use a proportion of one part toasted sesame oil to two parts sunflower oil) into the bottom of a frying pan.  Heat it to about 350ºF. 

You can check the temperature of the oil by holding the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, touching the bottom of the pan.  If little bubbles immediately rise up around the spoon handle, you’ll know it’s hot enough.

Carefully place your rice cakes into the hot oil, without crowding the pan (I cook them in two or more batches), and leave them until they’re well browned on the bottom.  Once they’re well browned on the bottom, turn them and cook the other side. 

Be sure to let the patties brown well and form a crust before turning them. If you turn them too early, the patties will crumble around the edges.  (You can see from the raggedy edge on one of the patties in my picture that I turned it too early.)

When the patties are cooked, remove them to a sheet of brown paper (butcher paper or a cut-up brown paper grocery bag) and allow them to drain, and to cool completely.  This step is important because the paper will absorb any excess oil from the cooked rice cakes.  Once they’ve cooled to room temperature, the rice cakes are ready to eat.

When making them ahead, I store my brown rice cakes in the fridge.  They taste best at room temperature, so you’ll want remove them from the fridge at least 1/2 hour prior to serving them.
This post is linked to Hearth and Soul Blog Hop hosted by Premeditated Leftovers, The 21st Century Housewife, Penniless Parenting, Elsa Cooks, Savoring Today, and Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

 Hearth and Soul blog hop at Zesty South Indian Kitchen


Racket said...

Nice and simple; I like that! Thank you...and I follow u on Facebook too; it's okay to take a break, just don't leave us completely.

Laureen @FoxKitchen said...

Super, I never thought to make my own rice cakes. I bet they're much better than the dry tasteless ones I get from the supermarket! Adding this to my Must Make list

Laureen @FoxKitchen said...

Super, I never thought to make my own rice cakes. I bet they're much better than the dry tasteless ones I get from the supermarket! Adding this to my Must Make list

Aunt B said...

I'm glad you like the recipe, and I do appreciate all my Facebook friends. :)

Aunt B said...

They're very different from rice cakes from the store Laureen; far more dense and with a nutty taste from the sesame street. I think you'll enjoy them.

Aunt B said...

Oh my goodness! I just re-read that! I meant "the nutty taste from the sesame seeds." Clearly I'm having trouble focusing today!

Alea Milham said...

I absolutely love rice cakes and cannot wait to make my own using your recipe! I like to top them with garlic hummus. and one of my favorite treats is to spread peanut butter on a rice cake, top it with whipped cream and wash it down with a cup of cocoa. :)

Aunt B said...

These are very different in both flavour and texture from rice cakes you buy in the store, Alea, but they do work well with hummus because of the sesame seeds, which get all toasty and nutty flavoured when the cakes are fried. :)

Wall said...

What GF flour would you recommend using with this? A general flour blend or a specific flour? Or just use your favorite flour?

Aunt B said...

Mindy, I don't cook gluten free so I'm not really familiar with the attributes of GF flour but I can tell you that the flour's primary purpose here is to bind with the starch that clings to the outer surface of the cooked rice, providing the "glue" that holds the cakes together. I would imagine most any flour would do.

Anonymous said...

if u make the rice fresh and let it simmer for an hour or until rice falls aparts it'll be more sticky and won't fly need to add the flour than bake instead of fry.

Aunt B said...

You could certainly do that but I would not like the loss of texture. There is such a small amount of flour that I prefer to include it and keep the more toothsome texture the intact rice gives the patties. As to baking vs. frying, I find that it makes the patties less crunchy and distastefully bland.

I guess what it comes down to is balance. I choose not to follow diet trends and strive instead to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. I'm about moderation in all things, including moderation, and I believe people are far more likely to eat healthy food if it tastes good. If that means frying in vegetable oil once in a while, I'm fine with that.

The small amount of fat and wheat flour in the finished rice cakes are offset by the proteins, B vitamins, vitamin E, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, and iron provided by the grains and seeds in the cakes.

plasterer bristol said...

Great recipe. These turned out great. Thanks for sharing.


Aunt B said...

Thanks for trying in Smon. I'm glad they turned out well for you.

Anonymous said...

Superb blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm
a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out
there that I'm totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Kudos!

Amber said...

have you ever tried baking them instead of frying? if so, curious to know the outcome, as we avoid fried food as well.