Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

Bolinhos are a mainstay of Brasil’s bar scene. They’re little balls of rice that are lightly fried for a golden crunch, which gives way to a soft, almost creamy interior. We’ve incorporated the cooking of the rice into the recipe, but leftover rice can also be used. If it’s quite dry, you might need to add an extra egg to help it to stick together.


Quantity Ingredient
150g long-grain rice
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
70g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
80g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
vegetable or groundnut oil, for deep-frying
lime wedges, to serve (optional)


  1. First, cook the rice. Put it in a pan with 400 ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, part-covered, for about 10 minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed. Remove, cover and leave to steam for another few minutes. It will be slightly overcooked and sticky, and you should be able to shape it easily. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Add the egg, spring onions, Parmesan, salt, baking powder, half the flour and the chopped parsley (reserving 1 tablespoon) to the rice. Mix well and check the consistency: it should be stiff enough to shape into balls. If it’s too sticky, gradually add more flour until you get the right consistency. With well-floured hands, roll into walnut-sized balls, about 30 g each.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C (it should sizzle when a little rice mixture is added to it). Fry in batches for 2–3 minutes, until golden brown all over, then drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you fry the remaining batches. To serve, transfer to warmed bowls and serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan and the remaining parsley, and lime wedges alongside.
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