Pandan, an aromatic Southeast Asian plant, is the perfect compliment for these coconut cream-centered arancini balls.
1 can coconut cream
1 cup glutinous rice
2 cups water
15 to 20 pandan leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
3 cups peanut, coconut or grapeseed oil, for frying
Place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and run under cold water until the water runs clear. Add rice to a sauce pot.
Wash the pandan leaves and cut them into 3-inch pieces. Place in blender with the water, and puree until as smooth as possible. Strain through a fine mesh sieve directly into the pot of rice, and discard the fibrous solids. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
Fill a silicon mold with small circular shapes with the coconut cream. (Try to open the can as carefully as possible without shaking it, so that you can use the coconut cream without any liquid.) Freeze overnight or until completely solid.
After rice is done soaking, add sugar and salt to the pot, then place over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Cover, and lower temperature so that rice is simmering. Offset the lid on the pot so that some steam can escape. Let cook for about 10 minutes, then check rice. Cook until all of the pandan water has been absorbed.
Once rice is cooked through, make sure lid is snug and let steam for about 10 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread sticky rice on top, adding another sheet of parchment to the top. Place in fridge to chill.
In a food processor, add panko and coconut, and pulse until combined and panko and coconut are finely ground. Transfer to a baking dish.
Place oil in a medium pot and heat to 350 degrees.
When rice is chilled, pull it out of the fridge with the coconut balls. Just like arancini, wrap the rice around each coconut ball. Place arancini in panko mix and toss to coat.
Fry arancini, then drain on a plate with paper towels. Serve immediately.
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