Indian-Style Arancini

The best part of making Indian food? All the leftovers. And what do you do with leftover rice? Turn it into arancini (duh) by making a quick “risotto” with the leftover rice. This method can be used with any style/flavor of leftover rice – it’s my favorite way to repurpose leftovers that you’d most likely let sit in the back of the fridge for a week before tossing.

So I give you… arancini with yellow jasmine rice and a sweet and spicy tomato chutney for dipping. Inspired by my go-to arancini recipe courtesy of NYT Cooking, who knew “Italian Indian fusion” could be so good.

Makes approx. 1 1/2 dozen arancini.


For the chutney:

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

For the arancini:

  • 3 cups leftover Indian-style rice (can use yellow jasmine, basmati, biryani, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup minced white oniion
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp bouillon*
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz whole milk mozzarella, cut into 18 (1/2 inch) cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 quart canola oil, for frying

*I use Better than Bouillon all the time in my kitchen. It has so much more flavor than traditional chicken/vegetable stock and it takes up much less space. I’ll normally keep a few jars of multiple flavors in the pantry to keep on hand.


For the chutney:

  1. Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and onion to a food processor and pulse until everything is very finely chopped (salsa-like consistency).
  2. Add the ghee in a saucepan over medium heat. When the ghee is hot, add the tomato mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. It will start to reduce and darken in color.
  3. Add the garam masala, cayenne pepper, and sea salt. Cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a simmer while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and keep at a low simmer until thickened to a chutney consistency, 15-20 mins.
  5. Remove from heat and cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the arancini:

  1. Add ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the ghee is melted, add the onion and a pinch of salt, sauteing until onion is softened and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the leftover rice, water, and bouillon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir frequently until the liquid is mostly absorbed, approx 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the milk, shredded mozzarella, curry powder, and a few turns of freshly cracked pepper. Cook until the milk is fully absorbed and the rice resembles a risotto consistency, approx 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and spread the rice evenly over a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to a few days).
  5. Once the risotto mixture is chilled, portion it into 18 evenly sized balls. Gently roll each piece into a ball, pressing a cube of mozzarella into each, and gently re-shaping into a ball to seal the cheese in the middle.
  6. Return the balls to the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Set up your arancini stations. Place the flour in one bowl, whisk the eggs in another, and place the breadcrumbs in a third. Whisk 1/2 tsp salt and pepper into both the flour and breadcrumbs for extra seasoning.
  8. Heat oil in a large pan over medium to 350 degrees.
  9. One at a time, roll each ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a baking sheet while you work through the whole batch. Repeat with the remaining arancini.
  10. Fry the arancini in batches, approx 5-6 at a time depending on the size of the pot. Fry for approx 5 minutes, until golden and crispy on the outside. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and repeat with remaining arancini.
  11. Serve arancini immediately with warmed tomato chutney.