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New Orleans Calas

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck
Hands-on time 45 mins
Total time 10 hrs, 10 mins
Yield Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
The Calas Women, as they were called, peddled these hot breakfast fritters--whose name comes from the African word "kárá"--each morning in the French Quarter. The street vendors have vanished, so we honor them here with a classic rice-dough recipe too delicious to ever disappear.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked medium-grain rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Vegetable oil
  • Powdered sugar

How to Make It

  1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice and 1/4 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 25 to 30 minutes. (Rice will be very soft and thick.) Remove from heat, and drain. Place 1 1/2 cups cooked rice in a bowl, discarding remaining rice. Mash rice with a potato masher 30 seconds. Cool 20 minutes or until lukewarm.

  2. Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Stir yeast mixture into rice. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place (80° to 85°), free from drafts, 8 to 12 hours.

  3. Stir eggs into rice mixture. Combine flour, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir flour mixture into rice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place (80° to 85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a deep cast-iron skillet or large Dutch oven; heat to 350°. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in batches, 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve immediately.

  5. Note: We tested with Water Maid Medium-Grain Enriched Rice.