Fried rice cakes

"CALAS! CALAS, TOUT CHAUD!" as the Creole women used to shout when they sold them in the French Quarter.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of my old high school classmate Louis Poché, of Loyola University and a member of the old NEW-ORLEANS Mailing List, who sent it to me years ago:

"What are calas? (or, "I've got all this leftover rice, NOW WHAT DO I DO?") Calas are fried balls of rice and dough that are eaten covered with powdered sugar, not unlike rice-filled beignets.

"The way it has been told to me is that long ago, on cold mornings in New Orleans, women would walk the streets of the French Quarter selling these warm fried cakes for breakfast.

"Here's a recipe from La Bouche Creole (Pelican Press, 1981):

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Thoroughly mix the rice and eggs together in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the rice and egg mixture. When thoroughly mixed, drop by spoonfuls into the hot deep fat (about 360 degrees F) and fry until brown. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while hot.

"Other variations are to serve with honey or (my favorite) Steen's Cane Syrup instead of the powdered sugar.

"Serve with a cup of coffee that is ...

Noir comme le Diable
Fort comme la Mort
Doux comme l'Amour
Et chaud comme l'Enfer

"Or, en anglais ...

'Black as the Devil
Strong as Death
Sweet as Love
and hot as Hell!'

"This is not an inaccurate description of the coffee we drink in New Orleans!

"Of course you might enjoy your calas the way I had mine tonight ... with an Abita Turbodog Ale!"


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)