Stuffed rice balls are generally associated with the traditional food of the Levant, Iraq and Iran and western Asia, where savoury and sweet ingredients meet with herbs and spices to produce a hearty dish.
How this delectable street food evolved into one of the national dishes of Italy and became the iconic symbol of Sicilian migrants is not hard to imagine. You would suspect that over the centuries the trading ships of the Mediterranean had something to do with it.
On the Balkan side of the Adriatic, qofte me oriz-qifqi is a national dish of Albania and stands proudly on its own, a surprisingly delicious ball of rice without filling, enriched with eggs, seasoned with mint and pepper, encrusted with olive oil.
- 1 kg vialone nano rice / short grain rice
- 6 eggs (300 g)
- 30 g black mint, fresh, finely chopped
- Black pepper, ground, large pinch
- Salt, large linch
- Olive oil
Wash rice and cook al dente. When cooled mix with beaten eggs, mint and seasonings.
Form into balls (6 cm diameter), brown all over in shallow oil on a medium heat for five minutes.
Finish in a 160ºC oven for fifteen minutes.