New kitchenwares in hand, we set about putting them through their paces for our date night – wine was decanted, glasses were set out, and we whipped up a curried tomato and gruyere fondue, kept steaming hot in the tiny tea-light powered fondue pot. Never ones to be satisfied with something too simple, we passed on the bread and crudites for dipping and instead fried up a batch of Indian-spiced rice balls stuffed with mushrooms, carrots, chiles, and peas. The combo of the crispy rice balls and the rich and spicy cheese sauce was spot on, and we polished off the whole batch in one sitting.
Curried Tomato-Gruyere Fondue with Indian-Spiced Arancini
A Katie at the Kitchen Door original recipe. Serves 3-4 as an appetizer.
For the arancini:
- 2 c. cooked Basmati rice
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 tsp grated fresh garlic
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed, finely diced
- 2 small carrots, peeled and finely grated
- 10 crimini or button mushrooms, stems removed, very finely diced
- 1/3 c. frozen peas
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs. lightly beaten
- vegetable oil for frying
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the grated garlic, grated ginger, and diced jalapenos and saute, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and peas and saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add cooked rice, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and cayenne powder and stir to thoroughly combine, fully coating rice in spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the beaten eggs to the rice mixture and stir to combine. Form the rice into golf ball sized balls, pressing firmly to remove any excess liquid, and set aside on a plate. Heat 1/2 an inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a deep frying pan. Once the oil is hot (test it by adding a small piece of rice to the oil and seeing if it sizzles immediately), fry the rice balls in batches, about 1-2 minutes per side, then drain the rice balls on a paper-towel lined plate. Serve immediately.
For the curried tomato fondue:
- 1 TBS butter
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp grated garlic
- 1 c. crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 lb. gruyere cheese, roughly grated
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the grated ginger and grated garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and curry powder and stir to combine. Cook tomatoes, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, then lower heat to low and add the grated cheese. Stir the cheese into the tomatoes until completely melted and just beginning to bubble around the edges, then transfer immediately to prepared fondue pot. Keep warm in fondue pot and serve with Indian-spiced arancini, crusty bread, or other foods for dipping.