There is a recipe for rice crackers in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook that really caught my eye. In a nutshell: over-cook some sushi rice, then roll it into a thin sheet between two pieces of parchment. Next, dry out the sheet of rice in a low oven or dehydrator. Once it is nice and hard, break into desired shapes and deep-fry. I was fascinated by this recipe because the procedure is identical to chicharrón but applied to a wildly different ingredient. What other starches or grains could this be applied to? Lentils? Pearl barley? Pinto beans?
My first attempt at the recipe was only a moderate success. As the sheet of rice dried several cracks developed. The final dried sheet was not very cohesive, and it was difficult to keep cracker-sized shards intact. Also the texture of the crackers after frying was too hard.
The EMP recipe calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. I increased the water content to 2.5 cups so that the rice was over-cooked and mushy. This resulted in a much more cohesive sheet of rice that was easy to break into the right sizes and had a more manageable crunch.
Another detail that is not mentioned in the EMP recipe is that transferring the rice sheet off the parchment and onto a wire rack partway through drying dramatically decreases the time it takes to desiccate.
It’s counterintuitive, but to get a nice light colour in the final crackers you need to use a very high oil temperature for frying, at least 375°F. This way the rice puffs before it browns. If the rice doesn’t puff within 10 seconds of hitting the oil, the oil isn’t hot enough.
The rice cracker in the EMP cookbook serves as the base of an hors d’oeuvre including raw hamachi, cucumber, chili, and cilantro. The photo above is a variation of that bite using yellowfin tuna in place of the hamachi. I also added a miso mayonnaise for mouthfeel, flavour, and to anchor the components on the cracker.