Vegan Riso al salto (Italian fried rice) is the cenerentola of Italian dishes. Made with leftover saffron risotto, the non vegan version of this Italian fried rice was born in a famous Milan restaurant (Ristorante Savini) in the 70s.
It was served to the guests that would attend the restaurant late in the evening, after a concert in nearby theatre “La Scala”. It quickly became one of the most sought after meals of the Italian elite, actors, and famous people, that would go to the Savini restaurant and order this simple, ingenious, and irresistible dish.
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The original Italian recipe for “riso al salto” fries the leftover saffron risotto in butter. Here we veganized this dish completely, making it as tasty, crisp, indulgent and delicious as the original Milanese recipe. Follow our recipe for Vegan Saffron Risotto before bringing “cinderella” to the dance (or to your table). Then fry it slow. The texture and flavor of this vegan Italian recipe will blow your mind!
Ingredients & substitutions
Saffron risotto leftover: the original Italian recipe of riso al salto is only made with yellow saffron rice. If you want to make it completely vegan like us, then follow our delicious recipe for vegan saffron risotto. Make some extra, and use the leftovers to make this recipe.
Olive Oil: we replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil to pan fry this vegan riso al salto. The result is incredible and as crisp as the buttered version.
Use leftover risotto
The freshly made risotto will not work for this recipe as it contains too much moisture. Make the vegan saffron risotto in advance, at least a few hours, and let cool down completely. It is best if you make it one day ahead. This will allow the rice to dry up and it will fry perfectly, creating an ultra-crisp coating.
Fry it slowly
To get the best crisp caramelization of the vegan riso al salto, you need to fry it on low heat for a long period of time (about 10 minutes per side) to allow the juices to evaporate. Also, this way and the starch of the rice will caramelize perfectly, without burning. The texture and flavor will blow your mind!
Mind the hot oil
When flipping the fried rice around you should be very careful about the hot oil dripping down the pan and on your arm. To prevent this from happening watch our video to learn the technique of flipping. Basically, you need to make sure the hot oil drips on an empty plate, before you turn the pan upside down.
Questions & answers
Riso al salto literally means “jumped rice”. This refers to the original cooking method of the dish, which is to be shallow fried on a pan and then flipped in the air, like a jump, to turn it around. We avoid the jump in this preparation and use a plate instead to turn it. It tastes the same!
More rice recipes
VEGAN SUPPLÌ ALLA ROMANA – ITALIAN FRIED STUFFED RICE BALLS
Vegan Supplì alla Romana (fried stuffed rice balls) is the perfect recreation of a traditional regional Italian recipe. Supplì di Riso, a quintessential Italian street food, traditionally made with leftover rice, breaded and deep-fried, with a heart of melted mozzarella cheese.
Our vegan supplì are as tasty, crispy, messy, melty, scruffy, and as Italian as it gets. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or even as a main dish.
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Supplì alla Romana (aka supplì al telefono) are a traditional and regional Italian recipe made in the central parts of Italy, like Lazio and Umbria. They are similar to Arancini Siciliani, as they are also made of deep-fried rice. However, supplì have a longer, slimmer shape compared to arancini, and traditionally are made with a tomato/meat risotto leftover from the lunch, and a filling of mozzarella cheese.
We use vegan cheese to make a plant-based supplì, and turn it into a delicious vegan appetizer.
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Tomato risotto left over: it is actually important to use leftover tomato risotto that has been stored in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight as cold rice has a more compact and dry consistency that is perfect to turn into a supplì. You can find our vegan tomato risotto recipe here.
If you are making the risotto from scratch to make the supplì, then make a dryer, firmer risotto than a regular one. Then let it cool down completely before making the supplì. For instance, make the risotto in the morning and the supplì in the evening.
Vegan cheese slices: we use them as a filling for the supply. There are many varieties in supermarkets these days. We use one that is made with an almond base and coconut oil. Get one that comes in slices if you want a wow effect when you open the supplì. Alternatively, any vegan cheese that is melty will work.
Plant milk: we use it instead of the egg wash, to wet the supplì before rolling the in breadcrumbs. Any plant milk works, just make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavoured. We use soy milk.
Breadcrumbs: store-bought or homemade, both are fine. We use them for the breading.
Frying oil: extra virgin olive oil or refined vegetable oil designed for frying.
USE LEFT-OVER RICE
This recipe was designed hundreds of years ago as a repurposed dish. Large Italian families would take leftover rice, shape it, bread it, and deep-fried. Leftover rice is perfect for this recipe because is dryer and firmer than freshly made risotto.
Because of this, the rice ball will stay together, and compact, when we fry it. So, the best is if you make extra vegan tomato risotto rice for lunch, then in the late afternoon, or the day after, you prep the vegan supplì alla Romana with the leftovers.
GREASE YOUR HANDS WITH OLIVE OIL
When shaping the supplì alla romana it is easiest to pour a few drops of olive oil onto the palms of your hands, then rub them together, and start making the supplì. The oil will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands, making it a lot easier to make a smooth supplì.
WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN
After rolling a few supplì the rice will stick to your hands, making it hard for you to keep shaping them. So, our advice is to wash your hands every 3 supplì. It’ll be a lot faster to shape them this way.
USE VEGAN CHEESE SLICES
If you want the best visual result when you open the supplì alla Romana (aka supplì al telefono) you should use cheese slices rather than shredded cheese. When the cheese slice melts, it will give you the cheesy effect when you pull the supplì alla Romana apart.
KEEP THE OIL AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
The best temperature to fry these Italian style stuffed rice balls is between 160°C (320°F) and 180°C (356°F). Why? Because if the temperature is too low, the supplì will absorb too much oil and it will be hard to eat them. If the temperature is too hot, the breading will cook too fast, it will burn, while the cheese inside won’t reach melting temperature.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What does supplì mean
Supplì is adapted from the French term surprise. In fact, a French general walked the streets of Rome at the beginning of the 19th century, eating the Roman deep-fried rice balls and calling them “surprise”, due to the melted cheese hidden inside. The Romans immediately Italianised the term transforming it into soplìs first, and supplì later.Why are they called supplì al telefono?
The term comes from the mozzarella cheese melting and creating a cheesy string from one end of the supplì to the other, resembling an old cable telephone.
These days Italian supplì Alla Romana are made in a million different ways. We showed you the most basic version with vegan tomato rice, but you can make them as you wish, with any type of Italian Risotto.
Our favorites are supplì made with leftover Mushrooms Risotto and Saffron Risotto.
More rice recipes
If you enjoyed this fried rice pancake, you might also enjoy our other rice recipes:
- Rice salad: based on Italian rice salad, and a perfect vegan lunch idea and a to-go meal
- Asparagus risotto: a refreshing and indulgent spring recipe with sauteed asparagus
- Vegan risotto: a guide on how to make a creamy risotto with any vegetable
- Vegan rice balls: street food and deep-fried Italian favorite with risotto leftovers and cheese in the center
- Saffron risotto: incredibly simple and bright yellow, this risotto is a crowd-pleaser
What are your favorite recipes with rice? We’re curious, let us know in the comments below!
Riso al salto (Italian fried rice) is already made with leftover Saffron rice and it’s best eaten right off the pan. The crispiness and flavor of this fried rice don’t last if stored.
Vegan Riso al Salto – Italian gourmet fried rice
- Non-stick pan
- 200 g vegan saffran risotto <– click to see our recipe (leftovers from previous day)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Take the leftover saffron risotto out of the refrigerator.TIP: this traditional Italian recipe is specifically made with leftover saffron risotto. If you make the risotto from scratch for this recipe, then you need to make it thick, and let cool down completely before cooking this dish.
- On a non-stick pan, warm up 2 tbsps of olive oil. Add 3 to 4 tbsp of the leftover saffron risotto to the pan. Keep the heat to low.
- Flatten the rice to get a disc as big as the pan. The disc should be just over 1cm (0.4 inch) thick.
- Without turning it, and on low heat, cook for 10 minutes on the same side. While cooking, adjust the edges of the disc with your spatula to make it perfectly round. During this stage the rice might stick to the pan. It's ok if it sticks at the beginning. At around the 3 minute mark you should try to move the rice disc around. Be gentle. It might break at this point. If it does, stick it together with your spatula. Around the 8 minute mark, you should be able to move the rice disc around the pan, without the help of your spatula.
- Now it's time to flip it. Take a clean plate the size of your rice disc. Put it on top of the rice. Then keep your left hand on top of the plate, and with your right hand turn the pan around. ATTENTION: WHILE TURNING THE PAN, HOT OIL MIGHT DRIP ON YOUR ARM. To prevent this from happening, let the oil drip on a second empty plate, before you flip the pan completely. (See our video for proper technique).
- Put the pan back on the heat, add 2 tbsps of olive oil, and gently slide the rice disc in from your plate. Now cook the other side for another 10 minutes. Keep the heat on low to allow for a slow and very crisp caramelization of the rice.
- During the 10 minutes, make sure the rice doesn't stick to the pan. Moove it around occasionally. When the edges of the disc start to turn golden and crispy, your rice is ready.
- Flip over onto a serving plate, let cool down a minute, and enjoy as a main, or as a delicious starter. The side up should be cripy, golden and heavily caramelized.