I think calas have been around forever — they’re most well-known in New Orleans, and knowing that Gramma Honey undoubtedly must’ve enjoyed her share growing up there…
But first, here are the calas…fried rice balls/puffs…I’ve had at the Old Coffee Pot restaurant (they spell them ‘callas’ and here, they’re a bit too dense/tough) on Saint Peter — they almost look like really small muffins:
There are two ways to make calas, and one way involves yeast — I really don’t care for making them that way — and the other is more straight-forward. My favorite recipe is based on Poppy Tooker‘s (Poppy, you just have to love). Here’s Poppy’s recipe, and here’s mine, which is somewhat different:
Oh! And when I make these it occurs to me that:
a.) To make calas, we are frying a starch (rice)
b.) I’m Jewish; I/we fry a starch (potatoes) and make latkes.
c.) I like the idea of thinking of calas as fluffy, sweet, ricey latkes.
d.) Thus, my recipe for calas — makes about 15:
2 cups cooked white rice
1/2 cups+ all-purpose flour to get good consistency; not too loose
3-4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
Oil for frying
(Two notes: a lot of people add some nutmeg. If you like nutmeg…but remember, a little nutmeg goes a long way.
Also, I’ve taken the previous night’s Chinese delivery white rice to make these, and they turn out great. So if you have leftover white rice from making, well, anything, you have the start to tomorrow morning’s breakfast.)
Combine rice, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and stir in eggs as well.
In a deep-sided pan, add enough oil for frying (but not deep-frying) — about the same amount as you use for latkes or nice crisp pancakes — at medium-high heat, just as if you were making latkes or pancakes.
Carefully place spoonfuls of the rice mixture in the hot oil; flip when first side is nicely golden brown. Cook until beautiful on both sides.
Remove from oil and place on plate lined with paper towels to dry.
Over the top (and I like to do this while they are crazy-hot so the sugar melts a little, like in my pic below), sprinkle confectioners’ sugar to your liking. Eat them while they’re still warm. Delicious: