Kimchi and gruyere rice fritters

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
½ onion (75g), peeled and finely chopped
Salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
200ml whole milk
1 x 250g packet cooked brown basmati and wild rice mix (or any other combination of cooked rice)
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
500g good-quality classic kimchi (I like The Cultured Collective brand)
80g green beans, trimmed and finely chopped
1½ tbsp coriander, finely chopped
80g gruyere, cut into 1½cm cubes
2 tbsp mixed black and white sesame seeds, toasted, plus 1½ tsp, toasted, to serve
90g plain flour
About 800ml sunflower oil, for frying
2 lemons; juiced to get 2 tbsp, the rest cut into wedges, to serve

Kimchi and gruyere rice fritters

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 5 min
Chill 30 min
Makes 12 fritters, serving four as a snack

I use a shop-bought, cooked brown basmati and wild rice mix here, but you can just as easily use leftover home-cooked rice (white, brown or whatever you have on hand). Make sure you start frying very soon after the batter has been mixed, because it doesn’t sit very well. Try to get good-quality kimchi for this; it really makes all the difference.

Add the olive oil, onion and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt to a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and fry for six minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and continue to fry for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.

Add the milk, lower the heat to medium and simmer gently for five minutes, until thickened and reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for five minutes, then stir in the rice, egg yolks and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until completely cool.

Meanwhile, set 160g of the kimchi aside, to serve. Squeeze the remaining kimchi through a sieve, collecting three tablespoons of the liquid in a small serving bowl (set this aside for later), and transferring the drained kimchi solids to a chopping board (you should have 320g). Roughly chop the kimchi, then add to the pan with the cooled rice mixture, along with the green beans, coriander, gruyere, sesame seeds and flour. Stir until fully combined.

Whip the egg whites, by hand or with an electric whisk, until you get stiff peaks, then gently fold through the rice mixture until combined.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat until it reaches about 180C/350F. Test the oil is hot enough by dropping in a tiny bit of batter; it should sizzle but not colour straight away. Fry the fritters in four batches (three at a time), to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil too much. Using a large serving spoon, carefully drop 95g of batter per fritter into the oil, and fry for four to five minutes, turning a few times, until golden-brown all over; turn the heat down if they’re browning too quickly. Transfer the fritters to a tray lined with kitchen paper, and continue in this way with the remaining batter.

Add the lemon juice to the bowl with the reserved kimchi liquid. Transfer the fritters to a large platter, sprinkling over the remaining sesame seeds and a light sprinkling of salt. Serve hot with the kimchi sauce, lemon wedges and the reserved kimchi alongside.