Zingy pineapple & anchovy arancini


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Pimp My Rice: Over 100 inspirational rice recipes from around the world

Pimp My Rice

By Nisha Katona

Published 2017

  • About

Okay, so this recipe might see Italian mommas crying into their ragu in horror, but this zingy pineapple anchovy combination is a source of sweet-and-sour-dipping-sauce joy to millions of Vietnamese.

I confess, I have tried and tried but I have struggled to make really good arancini. I expect so much ooze and umph from these crisp, unassuming little balls, I had to go this far off piste to get there. For both my tyrannical palate and my brazen adulteration of this Italian classic, I beg your forgiveness. Try them, though, to properly seal your smirking contempt.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes


  • 30 g/1 oz pineapple
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ¼ small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • a squeeze of lime juice
  • 5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
  • rapeseed/canola or sunflower oil, for deep-frying and oiling
  • ½ recipe quantity cold leftover Parmesan, Sage & Riesling Risotto
  • 60 g/ oz good (but not buffalo) mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 55 g/2 oz/scant ½ cup plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100 g/ oz/ cups dried breadcrumbs


Blitz the pineapple in a food processor.

Heat the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat until just smoking. Add the chilli, sugar, lime juice and pineapple and cook for 1–2 minutes until the juices combine and begin to thicken a little. Remove the pan from the heat.

Roughly mash the anchovy fillets into the cooked pineapple purée with the back of a teaspoon and keep aside in a bowl.

Rub a little oil onto your hands. Take a tablespoon of risotto into your palm and flatten it into a disc. Put a cube of mozzarella and ¼ teaspoon of the anchovy pineapple mix in the middle of the disc and press the risotto gently around the mixture to form a firm ball. Repeat this process until all the risotto is used up. You should have 16 balls.

Now roll the balls in the flour. Transfer them to the beaten egg, covering them quickly. Then roll them in the breadcrumbs and set on a plate.

Heat the deep-frying oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat. Test the heat by dropping in a few breadcrumbs. When they fizz quickly up to the top, the oil is at the right temperature. Now gently lower the arancini into the oil in small batches and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot – but not to your Italian mother-in-law.