It's staring at you. Right? A batch of leftover rice or congri looking at you like a sad puppy.
congri fritter
Chef Jami Erriquez’s congri fritters. Photo: Jami Erriquez

This congri fritter recipe will help you tackle that giant batch of leftover rice, and not only the rice but that tub of arroz con pollo or congri sitting in your fridge. I mean, how many bowls of rice can you repeatedly eat in a week’s time?

Right now, that’s my dilemma. I’ve got a massive bowl of congri sitting here.

For those of you unfamiliar with congri, it’s a one pot rice dish made with black beans and rice. Mostly eaten alongside meat, this dish is also known as “Moros y Cristianos” referring to the African Muslim governance of the Iberian peninsula and requisition of the Spanish Cristians.

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So, the other day while watching reruns of “Just Shoot Me” with my husband, I decided it’s time to do something with it. I started to google Rice fritters, basically  rice balls also known as Arancini. They’re delicious, crispy deep fried Italian balls of rice. The name comes from the Italian word for “orange,” which is what their shape and color look like after they’re cooked.

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In my research, I found the perfect Congri fritters on the menu at Ball and Chain in Little Havana (1513 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135).  Ball and Chain is temporarily closed until further notice. So I took inspiration from their Congri fritter appetizer to make them at home in the meantime. It’s really easy,so get ready to tackle your rice, or  in this case, the big pot of congri staring at me from the fridge.

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congri fritter recipe
That’s cheese oozing out of a congri fritter. Photo: Jami Erriquez

Congri Fritter Ingredients

  • 4 cups leftover congri
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups AP all-purpose flour for the breading, plus ¼ cup into the balls as binder
  • 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup cubed smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda 
  • 1 cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 small shallot , minced
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
congri fritter recipe

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  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the leftover congri, 2 eggs, and ¼ cup of flour. Mix well.
  2. If you need to, spray your hands with cooking spray to form the balls. Form the balls ( golf ball size) and dent to create a little crater.  Add one cube of cheese. Then, add more rice to the top and mold into a ball. 
  3. Once the rice balls are formed, place in the fridge. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large heavy bottom pot or in a fryer. 
  4. While the oil is heating, set up a breading station for your remaining  (2 cups)  flour, 3 eggs, and panko. Remove rice balls from the fridge and bread starting with flour, egg, then panko. Once finished, place in the freezer until ready to fry. 
  5. Quickly make the dipping sauce by adding dijon, mayo, garlic powder, chives, salt and pepper. Whisk together and let chill until ready to serve. 
  6. Once the oil has reached temperature, fry the breaded rice balls for 6 minutes or until the breading is a deep golden brown.  Rotate to ensure sure all sides have browned. 
  7. Drain the fried rice balls on paper towels. Season with salt. 
  8. Plate rice balls and top with minced shallot and dijon sauce. Sprinkle on smoked paprika and enjoy your congri fritters.

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Jami Erriquez is a part-time chef, food stylist, and an avid cookbook collector from South Florida. She studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia. Her love for cooking came from her father, Danny. She is a traveler, a yogi, and a beach bum, and has been eating Cuban sandwiches and listening to Celia Cruz since she was seven!. When Jami isn't in the kitchen she is binge-watching Golden Girls and hanging out with her family and pet cat, Irma.

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