1556848_10151858226907055_823020771_oRice is a staple in our household. But, what do you do with leftover rice. Most of the time, I prepare fried rice, But there are times when I want to make something a little different. Fried rice balls is that something different. The thing with fried rice balls, just like fried rice, there are several ways you can prepare. I usually make whatever is on hand. This time, it was ground beef, cheese and diced chiles. Thus, Mexican-style rice balls. They are a bit labor intensive, but worth the fuss. I eat them almost immediately, while the rice balls are still warm. That way, you get the crunchy from bread crumbs, softness and flavor from the rice and the extra bite from melted cheese. Definitely an appetizer dish, but eat enough of them, you’ll be too full for the main course.

4 cups cooked rice
5 eggs
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon chipolte powder
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
24 1/2 inch cubes of cheddar cheese
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Canola oil
salsa or hot sauce

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, grated cheese, 2 eggs and seasonings. Set aside. In a frying pan, brown ground beef. Add onions and diced chiles. Add garlic and ground cumin. Drain excess oil from mixture and add to rice. Stir well to combine and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Set up breading station: Flour in a bowl, whisk the remaining 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Bread crumbs in another bowl. Preheat canola oil in a small pot, so it comes up at least 3 inches on the side. Heat to medium/high heat. While the oil is getting hot prepare the rice balls. Take about 1/4 cup of rice mixture in the palm of your hand and make an indentation with your thumb. Take a 1-inch piece of cheese and place it in hole. Form the rice around the cheese, pressing in place. Form the rest of the rice balls and transfer onto plate. When ready, line a clean plate with paper towels, set near frying station. Dip the rice ball into flour, then egg, then carefully roll in bread crumbs. Using a metal, slotted spoon, carefully drop into hot oil. Fry for 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. When adding the rice balls to the oil, try to shake off excess bread crumbs from spoon. Transfer fried rice balls to plate lined with paper towels. Serve with salsa or hot sauce.