Calas are the lesser known brother of the iconic New Orleans beignet. Made with leftover rice and fried plump and golden in coconut oil, calas are surprisingly easy to make. The addition of apples makes them taste like autumn. These sweet treats are pleasantly reminiscent of apple fritters.
Sweet Apple Calas: New Orleans Rice Fritters [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Calas:
- 2 cups of cooked white rice, preferably jasmine or some other sticky rice
- 4 apples
- Juice from a small lemon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoons flaxmeal
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- Coconut oil, for frying
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dice the apples into small even pieces. Toss in the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Let this sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the apples to the cooked rice.
- Stir in the baking powder, flour, and the flax meal until well combined.
- Stir in the almond milk and vanilla until well combined.
- Form the rice mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. It’s okay if they’re just a little bit bigger than a tablespoon, but don’t make them huge. Rice balls that are too large won’t cook all the way through during frying.
- Set the rice balls aside and combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Set that aside too, have your sifter ready for dusting. Have the dusting mix close to the cooking station so you can dust them while they are still warm.
- Prep the cooking station by heating 1-inch of coconut oil in a 9 or 10-inch wide pot. Make sure the pot is nice and deep (to protect you from splatters) and has a sturdy bottom.
- Heat oil to about 340°F. Do not let it get hotter because coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F.
- Cook the donuts, about 6 at a time, for 20-50 seconds on each side. 20-50 seconds is a wide gap, but the oil will cool as you add and remove donuts. So the first batch of six might only need 20 seconds per side, but as you go, you’ll probably have to increase this.
- Once donuts are golden all the way around, remove them from the oil and set on layered paper towels to drain. Change out the towels as you go.
- Dust the donuts with the powdered sugar mix as you go. Once the donuts come out the the pan, wait a beat, and then dust. This will help the dust stick and also give the coconut oil a moment to return to a higher temperature.