Illustration for article titled You Should Waffle Some Rice, Yes You ShouldPhoto: Claire Lower

I love rice. I love it freshly cooked, everything fluffy and tender or crispy fried and topped with a flowing egg. It also makes a very good, satisfyingly crispy waffle – a waffle that turned out to be the perfect platform for a gumbo my stepmother gave me.

Like fried rice, waffle rice is best made with dry rice as a lack of moisture is key to making it really crispy. Fresh, tender rice is just too wet and all of that steam prevents browning and crisping. You can dry your rice overnight in the refrigerator or speed up the process and use a small fan (When you just need your rice cakes).

Once your rice is nice and dry, toss it with some oil (sesame and olive are both nice), then scoop it into a waffle iron set on medium to high heat. Let the waffle iron do its thing until you have a crispy, cohesive rice waffle that is slightly golden around the edges. Gently curl it onto your plate with some wooden sticks from your waffle iron. Then put things on it. (I can’t recommend Gumbo enough.)

In terms of proportion, half a teaspoon of oil or other fat is perfect for half a cup of cooked dry rice. I used unfiltered olive oil for the waffle you see above, but don’t sleep on butter (for browning) or animal fat – a rice waffle with bacon fat would be the perfect hangover reliever. One caveat: this waffle takes its sweet time, or at least a lot more time than I’m used to from my various waffles. It took a full five (5!) Minutes for my rice cakes to be crispy, but it was worth the wait (and a good exercise in patience for me).

Experiment with toppings and I think you will find the rice cakes are at home on your plate any time of the day. It’s a great breakfast carb (try eggs and waffled SPAM), but equally suitable for lunch and dinner. Did I mention it’s good with gumbo? Because it is. It’s really good with gumbo.

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