September 2013 Archives
The idea for the Fried Coconut Rice Balls was inspired by the Olive Garden Crispy Risotto Balls and Donut Holes. I wanted to add a glaze to the Rice Balls. I felt that pineapple would be the best option I wanted to go with, to give it a Pina Colada like taste.
The pineapples were taking to long to reduce down, so I decided to use an immersion blender to breakdown the pineapple. The liquid was still too runny, so I added a cornstarch slurry to thicken up the liquid.
The sauce thickened up nicely. I ended up decided not to try to glaze Rice Balls, because I wanted to keep the outside crispy and the sauce would have softened the outside. I decided to use the sauce to decorate the plate and will place the balls on top. The overall taste test went well! I forgot to take a picture of the final product during the testing, but I took a picture of the resulting taste test.
I did also throw out an idea to do a Coconut Rice Pudding, so I decided to travel down that path just to see it was an alternate option that would want to do instead of the Fried Coconut Balls or maybe enhance the balls. The test for this was to just add more water and coconut milk to the rice until it becomes a nice pudding. This test ended pretty quickly, or rather it took too long to complete so I decided to remove the idea for Rice Pudding for this project. I wanted to make sure what I was making would fit in the timeframe given and well the rice pudding would have left me with no time in the end.
From the ideas that I thought of, I decided to go with the Coconut Rice Balls.
I took some of the rice and added curry to see if the flavors worked together with what I was thinking of doing. I felt that some people use chili powder with their chocolate, so I was thinking along the same idea.
I decided on not using the curry. The flavor pairing was wonderful, but I wanted to have a sweet dish and the curry added savory flavor that would be great for another dish! I've already started thinking about it in for next time.
After deciding on just using the sweet coconut rice, I needed to figure out how I wanted to bread the rice balls. I tested 2 different versions, one with just coconut flakes and one with breading and coconut flakes. I attempted to both back and fry them.
The baking test resulted in burned coconut flakes. The fried balls turned out better and from taste testing, the consensus was the the breading with coconut flakes created a better user experience with the crispy outside and soft inside. I felt that I still needed something to make the breading a little better, because I was having trouble breading the balls. I decided to coat the balls in eggs before breading them and frying them in butter instead of oil. The breading was coating the balls pretty well, but the coconut flakes just weren't sticking, so I decided to add the coconut flakes within the rice to add some texture and more flavor, just in case the flakes weren't sticking well enough on the outside with the breading.
I was very satisfied with the end result of the Fried Coconut Rice Balls.
Last week I also went to eat at the Olive Garden and saw on the menu, Crispy Risotto Bites. From this interesting menu item, I came up with the idea to do a similar concept of maybe using the coconut rice pudding and doing a coconut breading on the outside, similar to this Crispy Risotto Bites. Then I'm thinking a pineapple sauce or compote would go great with it. Time to test these theories out.
Last weekend, I went to United Noodles and the Farmers Market to see if I could get more inspiration with the ingredients that I would find. The Farmers Market carried more traditional produce, but there were some fruits there that I have never seen. Going to United Noodles I found all sorts of great ingredients I wanted to try. I picked up some jackfruit, lychees, coconut milk, and coconut cream. How I would combine them all together, I'm not sure, or if I'm even sure that I would use all the ingredients. I thought about my previous idea of using pineapples, and thought, what if I replaced pineapples with lychees instead. Or possibly stuff the lychees with the rice pudding. If all these fail, maybe I could make a jackfruit compote or sauce of some sort to drizzle on the rice pudding. I also found some durian that I thought I might try, but then decided against it because of the strong smell it emits. The trip was a success to generate more ideas, so now the next steps are to try to experiment with the ingredients and see how everything turns out.
This semester I'm super excited to be taking DES1715 Food and Design. I love food and I love design, so the concept for this class instantly grabbed my attention, so I had to take it! The semester is just beginning and there has only been a couple of classes, but already my head is trying to explode with ideas of what to create!
Our first project is the Dish Innovation Challenge, to innovate with a familiar common food. Our options to choose from are either white rice, or orzo pasta. I instantly decided to go with the white rice. Being Asian, rice is a staple in my house hold, but now what do I do to innovate it?
I'm thinking maybe a spin on rice pudding. Use coconut milk for sweetness and then some curry to add some spice and balance, so it isn't a traditional dessert. Is that innovative enough?
Maybe I could create a paste from the rice to create an alternative/innovate twist on how rice is served? Could I pipe the paste onto something else? Or maybe frost it over something, as a twist a Japanese rice ball desserts.
Good thing I like rice, because there is going to be a lot of thinking and experimentation that needs to be done.