Wet your hands to shape the cakes, otherwise things will get very sticky. You can shape them ahead of time and fry at the last minute, if you prefer. And simply omit the chilli from the dipping sauce to make this child-friendly.
Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 20 min
300g sushi rice
60ml rice vinegar
2½ tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp groundnut oil
2 tsp sesame oil
For the dipping sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp groundnut oil
½ small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
Put the rice in a large bowl of cold water and stir with your hands for 10 seconds, to help release the starch. Drain into a large sieve, refresh under cold running water, then return the rice to the bowl. Cover again with cold water and repeat the stirring and draining procedure four or five times, until the water in the bowl is almost clear. Return the drained rice to the bowl, cover with fresh water, leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain one final time.
Put the drained rice in a medium saucepan, pour on 360ml cold water, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, without lifting the lid or stirring. Turn off the heat and leave the rice, still covered, to rest for 10 minutes.
Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Heat gently, just until the sugar dissolves, then pour all over the rice.
Sprinkle the cornflour over the rice and then, using a spatula, very carefully stir the rice, so it’s all coated. Cover the pan again and leave to sit for 15 minutes more.
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients.
When you’re ready to shape the cakes, wet your hands and have ready a damp plate to put the cakes on. Take about 100g of the rice mix and form into a roughly 4cm-wide x 2cm-thick cake. Put on the damp plate and repeat with the remaining rice, wetting your hands again between forming each cake. You should end up with 16 cakes.
Put half the groundnut oil and half the sesame oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay in half the rice cakes and fry for two to three minutes, until the base is golden brown – don’t be tempted to turn them over before they reach this stage, or they may fall apart. Carefully turn each cake, fry for two to three minutes more, then transfer to the damp plate with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and rice cakes, then serve warm with the dipping sauce.