Yesterday was Chinese New Year’s Eve, probably the most significant day of celebration for Chinese families. The lunar new year festivities continue for two weeks, but on the eve of the new year, families travel long distances to come together for a reunion and a feast!
We have plans to celebrate over hot pot with friends next week, but we didn’t do much to commemorate yesterday — besides the kids spending a good part of their day making Happy New Year cards for each other. So after a dinner of creamy Crockpot Lemon-Artichoke Chicken, I flipped through one of my Chinese cookbooks with Calla, hoping to find an idea for a quick and fun way to enjoy some Asian-inspired dessert.
We settled on “Rice Fritters with Coconut and Vanilla,” which might not be a traditional new year treat, but it fully satisfied our craving for a fun, Asian-y snack! As usual, I modified the recipe to make it gluten-free and overall just a bit healthier.
Here’s how we made these delicious little morsels, crispy on the outside, soft and lightly sweet on the inside…
Coconut-Rice Fritters (adapted from Complete Chinese Cooking, Amy Tai)
3 c. cooked medium-grain rice
3 eggs, beaten
2 T. coconut milk
1/4 c. coconut sugar (any type of sugar will work)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. almond flour*
1/4 c. coconut flour*
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. shredded coconut
coconut oil for frying (any type of vegetable oil will work)
powdered sugar for sprinkling
*The almond and coconut flours can be replaced with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour if you don’t want gluten-free. Also, 3/4 cup gluten-free baking mix such as Pamela’s can be used, but be sure to reduce the baking powder to 1 tsp, and eliminate the 1/4 tsp salt.
Combine the rice, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add flours, baking powder, salt, and coconut; mix well.
Heat the oil to 350F in a deep fat fryer or a large, deep pot. (I like to use my stainless steel wok for deep frying — I add enough oil to make it about 2 inches deep.) When oil is hot enough, gently drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the rice mixture into the oil. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot!
(These can be reheated in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes to make them somewhat crispy again!)
Yield: about 30 fritters