Tasty things to do with Rice Ball Swans.

Yea.. okay, that sounds really weird, but lemme explain — Mom’s been making me rice balls for the last week or so, in 3lb batches and traditionally when she makes these, usually for Chinese New Year, she always makes a whole bunch of neato shapes: balls, swans, a “nest” for said birds and with the rest of the dough, just makes a big long snake for the bottom of the steamer basket to cut into chunks and eat how you please.

The first batch she made last week, I just took home the balls to eat and she kept the swans and most of the snake. Sunday, when she & Dad were headed out to Older Bro’s for dindin, they dropped off all sorts of stuff she had been busy making: some homemade dumplings that are similar to ha gao only they had turnip and pork inside, a big pie plate of lo bok go (it’s gonna be so tasty once I fry up the slices in a little oil til crispy.. so yummy!) and a full 3 lb batch of rice balls. Swans and all.

So tonight is my first crack at this batch of rice balls and I decided to sacrifice the swans. For some reason this week’s rice balls seem to be tastier than last week’s batch and I am unsure as to why. Regardless, I took the two swans out of the bag, hacked them into round slices and topped the pieces with lots of cheese, some hot sauce and the last of the bison meatballs that I smashed into bitty pieces. After nuking til hot and cheese meltied, I doused the whole thing in what remained of my birthday bottle of Three Banditos Salsa Olivos from Biggieness.

I have to say, it’s pretty damn tasty. Like nachos, only better because they’re not hard and crunchy which would ordinarily make my mouth hurt. And a lot more filling and comfort-foody. The rice balls are nice and warm and soft, but not chewy like mochi is. These are just like… well.. a densely-textured rice cake. I call them rice balls only because that’s the form they take, but really, we’re essentially talking about a rice dough that’s steamed until it’s a solid mass and cut into chunks to be eaten.

My typical way of eating rice balls is that I just chop the balls into rounds, nuke til hot and then douse in soy sauce & sesame oil… and if I happen to have some vietnamese fish cake/sausage on hand, oh happy day! Pretty simple, and again, comfort food.

My third way I’ve come to making them is I just cut them into rounds and then pan-fry in a little oil before dousing the lot in soy sauce and sesame oil. Not really much different than the nuking, but it just gives it a nice crispy fried texture on the outside. And really, who doesn’t like fried noodles?

So having to deal with this whole no-wheat thing, as much as I’ve been griping about the lack of bread and crackers in my diet the last couple of weeks, I’m really not suffering as badly as I have in the past. I think everytime I have to revisit this “no wheat/carbs/starch” thing, it gets easier only because I know and am remembering what I can eat that will keep me feeling full and relatively satisfied. And if I’m lucky, I will soon have my hands on a soda cracker recipe which will save me having to fork over seven bucks for a tiny little wee box of crackers at the organic store everytime I need a hit.

A bread recipe too, in time, will come when I’m ready to start experimenting with wheat-free baking. Right now, the cravings for bread aren’t nearly as bad as they were when I first started eliminating it a few years back. Yes, I still crave a sandwich or a slice of toast with butter, but I don’t feel as desperate for it since I’ve found that Glutino makes a decent-ish bread approximation (compared to Kinnikinnik, at least. Their breads, the first brand I tried way back when, are rather icky) and I have a loaf now stashed in the freezer, divided into sliced pairs, so I am set for the next while. When the need for “real” bread overtakes me, I know where I can easily buy my supplies and I know a rather *cough* hawt, gay *cough* boy who is willing to share his knowledge with me.

So for now, I shall eat the rather shameful excuses for crackers that I bought yesterday out of desperation and know that soon, I will have homemade crackers and bread that won’t each cost me the price of half a tank of gas for my little car… cuz that’s basically how much it costs just to have something proper to eat with cheese.


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