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Crispy Rice Balls with feta, mint & pul biber

(Makes 14) 


  • 175g basmati rice 

  • 1 tablespoon table salt 

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 

  • 100g feta cheese, finely crumbled 

  • 1/2 small packet (about 15g) of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 

  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped 

  • 1/2 tablespoon pul biber chilli flakes 

  • 1/2 tablespoon dried mint 

  • 1/2teaspoon cumin seeds

  • sunflower oil

  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

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Soak the rice for 20 minutes in lukewarm water mixed with the table salt. When the soaking time has elapsed, rinse thoroughly in plenty of cold running water, then drain. 

Put the rice into a small saucepan that has a lid and pour in enough water to equal the level of the rice. Stir in the turmeric and a generous amount of salt, ensuring the turmeric dissolves evenly. Bring the rice to a gentle simmer over a medium-low heat. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool with the lid on. 

When the rice is cool enough to handle, transfer it to a mixing bowl and use your hands to work the mixture into a mashed ball of rice. 

Combine the feta, parsley, onion, pul biber, mint and cumin seeds in a bowl and season well with black pepper. Weigh the mixture and divide it into 14 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball. 

Weigh the rice and divide it into 14 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it into a disc. Place a ball of feta stuffing into the centre of each disc, then bring the rice disc together around the ball and pinch it tightly to seal in the ball. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (You can freeze them at this point for up to 3 months – defrost before frying them.) 

Pour enough oil into a large, deep saucepan to fill it to a depth of about 5cm and heat it over a medium heat. Line a plate with a double layer of kitchen paper. 

Take a pinch of the mixture and drop it into the oil to test how hot it is – if the mixture sizzles immediately, your oil is hot enough. Carefully immerse the balls into the oil and fry until crisp and golden all over. Using a metal slotted spoon, transfer to the paper-lined plate to drain excess oil, then serve immediately.