Our time here in the world’s rice belt has shown us new rice varietals and inspired fresh recipes in our kitchen.  Today's recipe comes from our friends Johnny and Cath at Bali Eco Stay. An Italian, foodie friend of theirs introduced the rice balls to their resort kitchen and I had to bring them to yours. Using brown rice and herbs seems a healthy and modern twist on classic, Italian "Arancini," a Sicilian dish meaning "little orange" which dates back to the 10th century. I have always loved Arancini, though this is the first time I have made them myself. I adore this recipe and look forward to using it all sorts of ways. Maybe using red rice instead of brown? Different herbs, or even spinach? Mushrooms? Sun dried Tomatoes? Feta? Who knows, but the potential for deliciousness seems endless.

Rice has been a dominant theme of our time here in Bali. We are living right on the rice fields, have watched the green plants grow, then yellow for harvest time. Now our field lies fallow. The ducks have come to work their magic. As I write this, the hum of the tractor - prepping the field for a new crop - is working its way to our doorstep.

I do love seeing where our food comes from. Rice, just ready for harvest, is a golden delight I had to share with you and I think you'll love the rice balls!

INGREDIENTS adapted from Bali Eco Stay
(printable recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, still warm
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 6 large green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 red chilies (medium hot), finely chopped 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste if necessary
  • pepper, to taste
  • white rice flour
  • 2 eggs
  • brown rice flour
  • raw coconut oil or other high heat oil

While your brown rice is cooking on the stove top, prep all ingredients. Place chopped herbs, olives, grated Parm, paprika, chilies, salt and pepper into a large bowl.

Take hot cooked rice and add it to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients to integrate. Taste for seasoning. I must warn you that the mixture is so good at this point, you will be temped to stop here and have risottoesque meal and be very very happy.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mold the rice into balls. Set aside.

Set out three low bowls for dredging. One with white rice flour. One with whisked raw egg. One with brown rice flour.

Take each rice ball and first roll it lightly in the white rice flour, then the egg, then the brown rice flour. You are ready to cook.

Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan. You want your oil to be hot and bubbly, but not smoking. The hot coconut oil smells so good!

Place four to five balls in the hot oil, with ample space between. Turn a few times until golden brown all over.  Remove the cooked balls from the oil and let cool a bit on paper towels, which will soak up any excess oil.

Add a sprinkling of salt if you desire. Serve warm with a leafy green salad.



  1. Love the photos of the rice fields- so beautiful. I've never had anything like a rice ball, maybe I should try :)

  2. Poires au Chocolat,

    You've got to try making rice balls... they are so good, especially filled with plenty of cheese and other goodies;)


  3. E,
    Since I can't afford to travel this is a great way for me to taste the foods of life wherever YOU go. It's like I am on the trip with you. Love all your pictures! Can't wait to try these, they look so yummy. I'll let you know how they turn out.
    I was wondering if this is a meal or just a little side dish.

  4. Oli,
    I'm glad to take you with us on our travels. Good to have company:)
    I think the rice balls make a good hearty side, or appetizer. That said, we did eat them as a vegetarian main course with a side salad and they were fantastic. Hope you enjoy!

  5. Wow, I love this site. Really different recipes that are just beautiful!

  6. delicious rice balls - yummy. i love the ducks feeding...the colour of them are gorgeous. happy easter! dayle

  7. Thanks Kelly and Dayle - Happy Easter to you both!!!

  8. Amazing! Beautiful photos.

  9. Thanks Jun! Much appreciated:)

  10. I've used leftover rice for years to make something similar to this but your recipe looks much more interesting. And your pictures WOW!

  11. Beautiful beautiful photographs! Its awesome to see where our food comes from and rice fields seem so exotic compared to the prairies I'm living in over here.

  12. Baking Barb - I am always looking for new ways to use rice and this recipe was a fantastic hit at our house!

    Stephanie - Even after 4 months here in Bali, this rice field view still feels exotic! I am amazed every day.

  13. It's been many years since I visited Bali, but I still remember being mesmerized by the rice terraces. So beautiful. It's kind of like nature's own snazzy architecture.

  14. Hey Carolyn,
    Living on the rice fields these past 5 months has been "mesmerizing!" The sea of green was my favorite phase. Today as I write this, the farmer has his oxen readying the field for the next planting. Unlike the static view outside our Berkeley front door,there is always action out on the rice fields.

  15. Hi

    My rice balls would not bind, I used brown basmati rice? I am thinking I should rather use normal white rice as it could be stickier? please advice. The only difference in the way I made them was that I used Mock Pamesan as we have a diary allergy and the only real cheese we can eat if Buffalo Mozarella.

    Any ideas?

    1. Hey there, sorry to hear that the balls didn't bind:(
      Brown basmati should work fine - though you're right that white rice is always stickier.

      I've never cooked with mock parm and am not sure how it behaves. The Parm is a binding agent too and that could definitely be your issue.

      Did you use all the egg? That is an essential binding agent here too.



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