When I was in the Azores Islands (also spelled Açores), I went on a driving tour with a friendly local guide named Joao from Azores Wonderful. It was a fantastic way to see more of São Miguel Island and to learn from him about local life.
Recently, I asked Joao for some ideas for typical Azorean cuisine to try cooking at home. He recommended this recipe for Bolinhos de Arroz by Leonor Santos. Below is my best try at translating the Portuguese instructions without text from the YouTube video. You may have guessed from the name that these are rice balls.
In the video, she takes half of the mixture and saves it before adding the cheese, but I am not sure what happens to the extra mixture. Maybe another batch for tomorrow? I decided to make half the recipe for Bolinhos de Arroz and cook everything at once! The flavour of the balls was delicious and the crisp coating made them easy to snack on. Also for vegetarians, you can leave the meat out as you can barely taste it anyway.
3 c Leftover (cooked) white rice
1/2 Red pepper, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
75g Minced beef
1 Carrot, grated
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp plain flour + more to thicken the mixture
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
100g grated cheddar cheese
Salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
First put the rice into a large mixing bowl. Then add the chopped red and green peppers. Mix in the minced meat and the grated carrot. Then add the parsley, chopped onions, 2 Tbsp flour, baking powder, salt to taste, eggs. Next, mix everything together in the bowl until homogenous. Add more flour if needed so that the mixture is firm and not too moist. Add the cheese to the mixture and mix well.
Finally, roll the mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place these on a plate until ready to fry.
In a large frying pan, heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Fry the balls until brown and crispy. Then drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot.
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