These are equally good with black glutinous rice, so choose whichever you are most familiar with or comes easiest to hand. You can if you wish substitute salt beef, pastrami, or ox tongue for ham. The croquettes can be deep-frozen for up to a month before they are fried. If you are planning a big drinks party, you can freeze them in one large pack; otherwise, pack them in small batches so you will only have to thaw out what you need.
Put the rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stir the rice once, and cover the pan. If using black glutinous rice, cook for 30 minutes; if using wild rice, cook for at least 30 minutes, possibly longer. Then leave the rice to cool.
Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Then add the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously, until you get a smooth, thick sauce. Leave to cool a little, then add the lightly beaten egg and mix well.
Heat the rest of the butter in a wok or frying pan and stir-fry the shallots or onion until soft. Then add the cool rice, with the pepper or chilli powder, nutmeg, salt, and parsley or coriander/cilantro leaves. Stir and mix these for 2 minutes, then add the white sauce and ham, and continue stirring and mixing for another 2 minutes. Transfer the mix to a bowl and leave it to get cold.
When it is cold, put a tablespoonful on to a piece of greaseproof paper or foil and roll it into a croquette shape. Go on until all the mixture is used up. Alternatively, roll the mix into a roll about
Before you fry them, take the croquettes from the freezer and immediately coat each one with flour and dip it in the beaten egg. Then heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 190°C/375°F; at this temperature, a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 1 minute. Now roll 4 or 5 croquettes in breadcrumbs, and deep-fry them for 4–5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Take them out with a slotted spoon or wire scoop, and drain them in a colander lined with absorbent paper. Carry on like this till they are all done, and serve hot or warm.
© 1994 Sri Owen. All rights reserved.