You Should Waffle Some Rice, Yes You Should

You Should Waffle Some Rice, Yes You Should
Photo: Claire Lower

I love rice. I love it freshly cooked, all fluffy and tender, or fried up crispy and crowned with a runny egg. It also makes for a very good, satisfyingly crunchy waffle — a waffle that, as it turned out, was the perfect platform for some some gumbo my stepmom bestowed upon me.

Waffled rice, like fried rice, is best when made with dry rice, as a lack of moisture is the key to getting it truly crispy. Fresh, tender rice is just too wet, and all that steam prevents browning and crisping. You can dry your rice out in the fridge overnight or speed up the process and use a little fan (if you need your rice waffle right now).

Once your rice is nice and dry, toss it with a little oil (sesame and olive are both nice), then ladle it into a waffle maker set to medium-high heat. Let the waffle maker do its thing until you have a cripsy, cohesive rice waffle that’s lightly golden on the edges. Gently coax it out of your waffle maker and onto your plate with some wooden chopsticks. Then put stuff on top of it. (I cannot recommend gumbo enough.)

Ratio-wise, 1/2 teaspoon of oil or some other fat for half a cup of cooked, dry rice is perfect. I used unfiltered olive oil for the waffle you see above, but don’t sleep on butter (for better browning) or animal fats — a bacon fat rice waffle would be the perfect hangover helper. A caveat: This waffle takes its sweet time, or at least a lot more time than I am used to my various waffled foods taking. It took my rice waffle a full five (5!) minutes to crisp up, but it was worth the wait (and a good exercise in patience for me).

Experiment with toppings, and I think you’ll find that the rice waffle is at home on your plate no matter the time of day. It’s a great breakfast carb (try it with 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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