Calas, an old New Orleans tradition, is a breakfast fritter mixed with cooked rice, flour, sugar, and spices, and then deep-fried. According to "The Dictionary of American Food & Drink," the word Calas was first printed in 1880, and comes from one or more African languages, such as the Nupe word kárá, or "fried cake."
The origin is most often attributed to enslaved people from Africa's rice-growing regions, but others believe the origin is French because of the similarity to a 1653 recipe for beignets de riz.
Creole street vendors sold the fresh hot calas in the city's French Quarter, with the familiar cry, "Calas, belles, calas tout chauds!"
Bits of the rice around the surface of the fritters will crisp a bit, adding to the wonderful texture.
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups cooked rice (cooled)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup flour (enough to make a good drop fritter batter)
- oil for deep frying
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Whisk the eggs until well beaten.
Stir in the cooled rice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla, and baking powder.
Add about 1 cup of flour or just enough flour to hold the batter together. It should be thick enough to drop from a spoon and stay together, but not too thick.
Heat oil in the deep fryer to 365°.
Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls or small cookie scoop into the hot oil.
Fry in small batches for about 4 to 6 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, turning to brown evenly.
Drain on paper towels and generously sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
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