Crispy Rice Cakes with Three Sauces

Marisa Baggett
Recipe by
Marisa Baggett

Jewish food traditions are inspired by the regions throughout the world. Sephardic Jewish cuisine, including North African Jewish dishes, is influenced by neighbors along the Mediterranean. Rice cakes are traditionally included in North African Shabbat meals, with aromatic spices including turmeric, saffron, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon. 

Take a break from your typical potato side dish and try these rice cakes. Their crispy outside gives way to a soft and fragrant interior that pairs well with anything from chicken, lamb, or a hearty vegetable stew. 

3 Cups basmati rice, cooked and cooled
½ Teaspoon turmeric
½ Teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt, to taste
1 whole lemon
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 bunch fresh parsley, curly or flat leaf
2 garlic cloves
1 pomegranate
1 lemon
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 Cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1 English cucumber
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon
2-3 sprigs fresh mint
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
3 garlic cloves
1 small yellow onion, chopped
½ Teaspoon cumin
½ Teaspoon sweet paprika
2 roasted red bell peppers (from a can or jar), sliced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Salt, to taste
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

Rice Cakes

  1. In a medium bowl, toss together the basmati rice, turmeric, and sweet paprika. Add a pinch or two of salt to taste and set aside.
  2. Cut the lemon in half and reserve one half for garnish. Squeeze the juice of the other half into a small bowl.
  3. Add the 2 eggs and beat well.
  4. Add lemon and egg mixture to the rice mixture and toss until the rice is evenly coated.
  5. Divide the mixture into 6 patties and set aside. Alternatively, the mixture can be used to make 1 large rice cake.
  6. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the 6 patties. If making 1 large cake, add all of the mixture to the skillet and spread out to cover the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Cover skillet and allow to cook on medium high heat for 2 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges.
  10. Using a spatula, place the rice cakes, crispy side up, on a serving tray. For 1 large rice cake, use a spatula to loosen the edges of the rice cake.
  11. Place your serving tray on top of the skillet and invert the rice cake onto the serving tray.
  12. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve with sauces, if desired.

Parsley Pomegranate Herb Sauce

  1. Remove stems from the parsley and discard.
  2. Chop the leaves into rough pieces.
  3. Place in a small bowl. Grate the garlic cloves into the bowl.
  4. Cut the pomegranate in half.
  5. Remove the seeds from 1 half of the pomegranate and add them to the bowl.
  6. Use a citrus reamer or juicer to juice the other half of the pomegranate.
  7. Add the juice to the bowl.
  8. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the bowl and add extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Stir well and add salt to taste.

Cucumber Mint Yogurt

  1. Place the yogurt into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a grater, grate the English cucumber, taking care to save the juice.
  3. Add the grated cucumber and juice to the bowl of yogurt.
  4. Next, grate the garlic cloves and add to the bowl.
  5. Grate some of the lemon to produce about 1 teaspoon of zest and add to the bowl.
  6. Juice the lemon and add juice to the bowl.
  7. Remove stems from the mint and discard. Chop the leaves into rough pieces. Add to the bowl and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Heat cooking oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the whole garlic cloves and stir with a spoon for about 10 seconds to flavor the oil.
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove garlic cloves before serving. Can be served hot or cold.

This recipe was originally shared during a cooking class for kids on RJ on the Go, your virtual home for interactive, meaningful, and joyous Jewish experiences. Explore your Judaism through science, art, text, and more from the comfort of your own home, and build your Jewish community as you go.