Once a common street food in New Orleans, calas have fallen off the radar, overshadowed by their omnipresent cousin, the beignet. After my trip to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, and subsequent pumpkin calas spotting on the Cochon menu, I was fascinated by this long-forgotten fritter. An 1903 cookbook reads (according to my rudimentary French) '"Bel Calas, good-n-hot!" So goes the cry of the Negresse who sells them on the street in a wooden bowl that she carries on her head, covered with a clean napkin. Calas are eaten with coffee from the market in the morning...they're delicious!'
And I'm here to report that they are, indeed, delicious. They're a brilliant way to use old cooked rice, and the dough keeps in the fridge for several days. They are basically like the child a beignet and a bowl of rice pudding would produce if biology made such things possible. I can't wait to make them again....maybe next time with some cheese and andouille!
2 c cooked rice
1.5 tsp yeast
1/2 c water, warm
1/8 c sugar
2/3 c flour
Mix all ingredients, allow to rest for a couple hours or overnight. Fry balls of dough (it's very wet) in hot oil. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar if desired.