Rice Cakes Recipe

Galettes de Riz

[Rice Cakes]

Waste not, want not“, saith popular wisdom. I do hate having to throw out good ingredients or tasty leftovers. I generally strive to make the most of my supplies, and in fact it’s an excellent exercise for your creative muscles to try and find ways to do so. But I have to admit it’s a constant battle between this thrifty side of me and the other one, who rolls her eyes and moans, “We’ve eaten that twice already, can we please move on to something else?”

So I could have thrown out the leftover basmati rice that we had in the fridge, but decided instead to make little rice cakes, mixing the rice with an egg and what vegetables I had on hand, and cooking the patties in the skillet. The resulting galettes were a very pleasant mix of crunchy and tender, with the lovely aroma of basmati rice enjoying the fresh company of spring onions and diced tomato, the whole thing being spiked up by a sprinkle of red pepper flakes — piment d’Espelette, to be specific.

They are very easy to make and assemble, the only step requiring a bit of skill is the flipping of patties in the skillet: be gentle but quick, and don’t flip them too soon or they’ll fall apart — which has no consequence on taste, just presentation. Naturally the recipe below is just a suggestion, you should go ahead and use whichever vegetables (raw or cooked) you have on hand, and maybe throw in a bit of ham or diced tofu in the mix.

Galettes de Riz

– 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 2 spring onions, chopped
– 1 tomato, juice and seeds removed, diced
– one clove garlic, chopped thinly
– salt, pepper
– red pepper flakes (optional)
– fresh cilantro

Serves 2.

In a medium mixing-bowl, combine the rice, egg, spring onions, tomato, and garlic; stir until well combined. Season generously with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the rice mixture from the fridge. Use two tablespoons to form patties (about 3 inches in diameter) with the mixture, and transfer them into the skillet. Cook for five to eight minutes on one side, or until browned, then flip carefully with a spatula and cook for another five minutes on the other side.

Serve immediately with fresh cilantro.

  • la cuisine des restes… toute une histoire. Il se peut que la prochaine fois que je fais du riz, j’en cuise un peu plus exprès ! bises.

  • Catherine

    A perfect use for that leftover rice in my fridge. Now I know what’s for dinner!

  • Fabulous! Now I know what to do with the leftover rice in the fridge!

  • robin

    And a variation: make them into fatter little pancakes or even balls, enclose a small square of cheese — particuarly mozarella — and then fry them up. The combination of the crisped rice and the strands of melted cheese are irresistible.

  • great idea! i wouldn’t have thought to do this with leftover rice — though i have made similar patties by adding an egg to leftover risotto , inspired by the joy of cooking (even easier, because the veggies are already all mixed into it).

  • Steph

    These would be great with some cheese mixed in. Mmmmm….. they look awesom. You can also do this sort of thing with mashed potatoes an make mashed potatoe cakes. So yummy!

  • What a simple, clever idea. I hate throwing away leftovers. To my ear at least, the name of the dish sounds so much more appetizing in en français than in English.

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  • Audrey

    I’m so so horrible about making good use of leftovers, but usually with rice, we literally throw together fried rice. Scramble some eggs, chop some green onions and cilantro, dice some sweet sausage, add some frozen peas and carrots and mix it all up with rice and season with soy sauce or a Japanese soup base called Memmi.

  • Lisa

    Is a spring onion the same as a green onion?

  • These look SO much better than the Quaker Oats kind. At this moment I am lamenting all my leftover rice that never had the opportunity to reach its full potential.

  • john

    Robin’s suggestion is excellent. That’s the dish known in Italian cookery as Supplì al telèfono (telephone wires) because of the way the melted cheese in the center makes long strings between your fork and the plate. Traditionally this is made from leftover risotto (with short grain Arborio or Carnaroli rice cooked originally in chicken broth), roll the balls in bread crumbs, and deep fry in olive oil at about 185° C.

  • May

    My mom makes rice cakes with ordinary white or fragrant rice.

    But she adds dried shrimp and shallots, and uses cornstarch to make it all stick. Then she deepfries them.

    Unhealthy, but so good!

  • Lakritz

    Now, that’s a recipe after my own heart! I absolutely loathe throwing anything away, and my husband cooks at least one curry per week and ALWAYS cooks too much rice! I usually freeze it in portions, but…, yes you’ve guessed it, my freezer is full of bags of rice. So, next time I’ll give this recipe a go, maybe calling it a galette will even entice the non-rice-eater in the family to give it a go!

  • Patsy

    If you have not a lot of rice but just enough, simply heat it in a skillet in butter before pouring in beaten eggs to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. It’s an old Southern way to use up leftover rice…Of course nothing should stop you from tossing in fresh herbs, but don’t overcomplicate things. It’s a down home dish and I love it. (Be careful not to have the pan too hot or the rice will jump our of the skillet as it heats!)

  • in japan, and of course korea, kimchee fried rice is a really popular dish. the recipe Clotlide has given seems so easily adjustable to making kimchee galettes! Simply replace the onions with Nira onions, replace the tomatoes with kimchee. garlic and eggs are already in the fried rice recipe, and perhaps add some oyster or soy sauce, and maybe some kochijan for some more fire, this sounds like such an interesting variation on a true favorite of mine!!!

  • nina

    is there an alternative to the egg, clothilde, to hold the galette in shape? would cheese work as a binder?
    I’m trying to make a vegetarian variant.

  • This reminds me of one of Mrs. Delicious’s favorites, a kind of frittata with egg and leftover spaghetti. Just writing it down reminds me of our first two-freelancers-temping apartment…

  • Quelle belle idée!

  • Apoorva Muralidhara

    Seems like a great idea, since I often have leftover basmati rice, and I almost always have eggs, and often many of the other ingredients you mention.

    But why “cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes”? I believe you; I’m just curious why. Is it so that the mixture “binds together” somehow?

  • Clotilde! What a perfect presentation of leftovers. Sometimes I’m most inspired on the days when there’s nothing new in my kitchen. And since rice is gluten-free, I’m especially happy about this one!

  • Christy

    We rarely have leftover rice (my husband and daughter can’t seem to stop eating it and so I’ve learned to cook less) – but this is so similar to what we do when we’ve got nothing concrete planned for dinner. We usually use poha which is a flattened (and maybe dehydrated?) rice from India. We rehydrate it and then toss it with quick-fried chopped tomatoes, green peppers, onions, shredded cabbage, cilantro and lime juice. Or, we use is as a side for a grilled meat after simply rehydrating and pan-frying with a little onion, turmeric and mustard seed. Mmmmm. Quick, easy and the goods are always on hand!

    I’ve never seen your thoughts on Indian food, Clotilde. Do you enjoy it? When I lived near Annecy about 15 years ago, there were no Indian restaurants to be found. Now I know there is one, but no one that I know has ever been!

  • stephanie

    Lovely dish Clotilde – I usually do a spicy stuffing with leftover rice, but this is a cool idea.
    Christy, I hope I’m not being too cheeky, but do you know any good sites on Indian food/cooking? I’m based in the UK and had an experience of home-cooked Sri Lankan and Northern Indian food from the homes of different friends as a kid, which makes me what to cook something other than the basic ‘curry house’ type recipes :)

  • Christy

    Stephanie – I don’t, I’m sorry. My husband’s family is Indian and so I’ve learned from them. If you check out a few Indian food blogs you might find some recipes of interest. I’m happy to send you a few recipes via your email, but they are my Americanized versions of my husband’s favorites and the measurements won’t be metric!

    Clotilde – a thousand pardons for using your comments for correspondance.

  • Lisa – Yes, a green onion is the same as a spring onion. “Oignon nouveau” (new onion) in French!

    Apoorva – Yes, I have found that if you let the rice stand in the mixture for a little while, it sort of absorbs the moisture and then the galettes hold themselves better.

    Christy – I love Indian food! It was a favorite of ours when we lived in California, and we still eat it here, although Indian restaurants in Paris aren’t as good as in the Bay Area… I’ve never cooked anything Indian though, but I would love to!

  • Christy

    Well, then, no time like the present! I think on your next rainy, ho-hum Saturday you should delve into the world of Indian home-cooking.

    On our honeymoon, we stayed very near just one street up from Rue Cler and we shopped there every day for little picnics in our very little hotel room. To get to Rue Cler we had to pass an Indian restaurant but we didn’t stop. I couldn’t justify passing up reblechon, morbier and saucisson sec for food I could get at home anytime. But, I’ve often wondered what the French take on Indian food would be and how the service would be as service at Indian restaurants here and in India, even, is quite different than service at other types of restaurants.

  • I had a bit of leftover rice pilaf that had a hint of curry in it. I made the galettes with it…perfection. And I had a small handful of raw shrimp in the fridge, I sauteed them in olive oil and garlic and threw in a bit of ginger and a few drops of toasted sesame oil. With the galettes it was truly a meal of “restes.” Dinner for two! Clotilde to the rescue, once again!

  • I do the left-over risotto thing – rolled into balls – golf-ball sized and a cube of mozzerella pushed inside, floured and fried…
    My wife now insists that I make more risotto than required – says she prefers the left-over rice balls next day to the actual risotto!

  • These looks so beautiful and delicious!

  • Diane

    Yummy! I always have leftover rice in the fridge. This is a great idea for using it up. Usually I make fried rice for breakfast with it:

    Heat oil in wok. Add chopped garlic and Thai chilis for 15 – 30 seconds. Then add any chopped vegies you have around (courgettes, cucumber, greens, etc). Saute until vegies are about half done. Add rice and cook until done to liking. Splash with fish sauce (about 1 Tbs). Cook a few minutes until fish sauce is integrated and nice smelling. Take off heat, add chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

  • I finally got around to making les galettes de riz. I didn’t have fresh garlic, so I used a little garlic powder and a sprinkle of oregano. I also added a bit of chedder cheese to the top of each galette.

    This may be a little too American, but I was curious about adding a little more flavor still. So I tried just a tiny bit of Thousand Island dressing with them. It was really good, but definitely just use a small amount (no more than a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon with each galette).

    Merci beaucoup Clotilde! Vous m’inspire a faire la cuisine de plus en plus en pensant de Provence.

  • JoAnne

    We use to call this recycling food when my nephew was living with us. With leftovers (if we were lucky to have any) I would remake a totally different presentation and he would think it was something new. LOL

    I have leftover roasted acorn squash, sweet potatoes and eggplant lasagna (no noodles, eggplant was the top and bottom layer with veggie chili as the filling. I’m going to cook up some basmati rice and experiment… Thanks for the ideas

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