These cakes were an early version of road food. Workers in the field or travelers would tuck several into their pockets for a simple meal.
Stir together rice and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 inch into a large, heavy skillet; heat to 350°.
Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into hot oil; fry in batches 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on wire racks over paper towels. Serve immediately.
Rosemary-Garlic Journey Cakes: Add 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary and 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic to batter. Proceed as directed. Makes 20 cakes. Prep: 5 min., Fry: 4 min per batch.
Tomato, Parmesan, and Kalamata Olive Journey Cakes: Add 1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped; 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese; and 1/4 cup minced kalamata olives to rice mixture. Proceed as directed. Makes 20 cakes. Prep: 10 min., Fry: 4 min. per batch.