Black Sable Rice Calas
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Recipe courtesy of Tonya Hopkins

Black Sable Rice Calas

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 8 servings 
Calas are semisweet fried rice cakes (an evolution of the beignet) seasoned with some of the same warming spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg) as the Amazing Hibiscus Mulled Wine Mocktail and Kwanzaa Mimosa and so appropriate for this Yuletide season. They are akin to rice pudding fritters, with a smooth and creamy yet textured interior and a satisfyingly crispy exterior. The word "cala" comes from one or more African languages. Calas were one of many foods made and sold by both enslaved and free women of color in New Orleans. They are a symbol of the frugality, inventiveness, self-reliance and entrepreneurial spirit of Black women food vendors throughout the Thirteen Colonies and entire Eastern Seaboard for centuries, not unlike several entrepreneurial ancestors in our family whose stories we remember during Kwanzaa and always.  Sprinkled lightly with coconut crystal sugar while warm, or for an even sweeter treat, drizzled with a (preferably all-natural) syrup of your choice, they’re great accompaniments to a freshly brewed pot of Kenyan (or other African/Diasporic) coffee.



Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until well beaten. Stir in the rice, granulated sugar, honey, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Add about 1 1/4 cups of rice flour or just enough to hold the batter together. It should be thick enough to drop from a spoon and stay together but not too thick. 
  2. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep fryer or cast-iron skillet to 365 degrees F. 
  3. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls or small cookie-dough scoops into the hot oil in small batches. Fry, turning to brown evenly, until golden brown and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle to taste with coconut crystal sugar. Mix together confectioners’ sugar and toasted coconut flakes in a bowl and toss the calas in the mixture

Cook’s Note

Use 1 cup cooked white or brown rice if black sable rice is not available.