Indian arancini (biryani arancini). Cheesy and crunchy biryani rice balls to steal the show at your next gathering. Spiced biryani, cheesy center and amazingly crunchy coating makes this a staple on your entertaining menu.
Allow me to introduce you to arancini made with leftover biryani – a spicy twist on the classic Italian favorite. Sure, the classic arancini is a stunner appetizer, but how about incorporating a spicy twist to your favorite? Better yet, think traditional Indian biryani covered in a super crunchy coating to resemble arancini. Cool idea, right?
Arancini with an Indian twist!
Let’s start with the rice. Although classic biryani is made with basmati rice, I highly recommend using jasmine rice. Yes, I’m talking about the rice commonly used in South East Asian cooking. This Thai chicken fried rice is a great example. The rice grains need to stick together easily to make the perfect rice balls, and I think jasmine rice is the right choice in this recipe.
Again, this biryani arancini or Indian arancini is made with a simplified version of classic chicken biryani. So, you’ll need to cook the rice separately before adding it to the spiced chicken masala. Just be sure to cook it until perfectly fluffy and not mushy.
To make the spiced chicken sauce, brown some onions, fry garlic and ginger for extra flavor, and throw in dried spices like ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and red chili powder. Cook chicken in this spice mixture until they are tender. Shred the cooked chicken into very tiny pieces so it’ll blend in with the rice.
Now, stir in the cooked rice along with some shredded cheese. I love mozzarella, but feel free to use your favorite like parmesan or cheddar. And now you have base biryani mixture for this Indian arancini. Allow the mixture to cool completely before rolling them into super cute rice balls.
Crunchy and golden arancini balls with a little secret
Once cooled, roll the rice balls, place cheese in a small indent in the center of the balls, and roll again. Have you noticed that dramatic cheese pull in the photos? I’m totally obsessed with it.
Now, onto the final step of making this Indian style arancini. Roll the balls in flour, whisked eggs and breadcrumbs. And here’s the little secret to making the crunchiest arancinis – panko breadcrumbs.
And there you go. Gooey, cheesy, spicy, crunchy arancinis to kick start your next gathering.
More appetizer recipes:
- Bread Cheese Balls
- Spicy Chicken Wings
- Chicken Lollipop
- Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
- Stuffed Cheesy Breadsticks
Watch Indian arancini recipe video below:
- 1 and ½ cups jasmine rice, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ¾ cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (ginger paste)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (garlic paste)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (turmeric powder)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander (coriander powder)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 500 g boneless chicken, diced (I used chicken thighs)
- ½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- ½ cup water
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 1 cup all purpose (plain) flour
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
- Oil for deep frying
- Marinara or tomato chutney, to serve
- Cook rice with plenty of water. Drain. Set aside.
- Meanwhile heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Add minced garlic and ginger. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for one minute or until fragrant.
- Add ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and red chili powder. Sauté, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until mushy. Add chicken, coriander (cilantro) leaves and mint leaves. Season with salt. Stir to combine. Pour in ½ cup water. Stir. Cook, covered, for about 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Shred chicken. Stir in rice. Add ½ cup mozzarella. Stir. Leave to cool completely. Set aside.
- Stir 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves into the rice. Shape 2 tablespoons biryani rice into a ball. Make an indent in the center of the ball. Place 2 tsp mozzarella, and mould rice around it to enclose. Repeat with the remaining biryani.
- Roll balls in flour, and shake off any excess. Dip in egg and then roll in breadcrumbs. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
- Meanwhile, heat oil for deep frying in a large pan. Add balls and cook, turning occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Drain on an absorbent towel.
- Serve with marinara sauce or tomato chutney.
- You can also use leftover biryani to make these balls
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