In a time prior to the emergence of my consciousness, men and women pushing carts through the streets of New Orleans sold these wonderful, aromatic rice cakes. They were so popular in the early part of the century that one of my oldest aunts was nicknamed for them. They have never been widely available in restaurants; the Coffee Pot on St. Peter Street has kept their memory alive almost single-handedly. They make a great breakfast or snack. Here’s a recipe derived from one that a radio listener, who thinks it came from his grandmother, sent me.


  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled rice
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar

1. The night before you plan to make these, dissolve yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water. Mix with the rice in a bowl. Cover and let stand in a warm place overnight.

2. The next morning, blend the eggs, rice flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the rice. Add just enough water, a little at a time, to incorporate all the dry ingredients. (You may not need any.)

3. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. With a spoon, scoop the rice mixture into ping-pong-size balls. Drop them into the hot oil. Fry for three minutes, till darkish brown. Drain on paper towels.

4. Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can also serve them with syrup.

Makes two or three dozen.

Recipe details. . .

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  1. Nicole Moran on April 2, 2016

    I searched this dish today, forgetting the name. My dad loved New Orleans and lived food. The Texas Chef, my dad. He kept these alive in my mind because every time we were in NO, he’d make us go have calas for breakfast. Glad to see they’re still around.