Thursday, November 21, 2013


Calas is a dish that embodies the frugality of Louisiana residents, a way of turning leftover rice into a tasty breakfast or snack. Calas are made by mixing flour, cooked rice, sugar, yeast and eggs into a batter that is best left to stand overnight to develop complexity. Here's a bit of history according to "The Dictionary of American Food & Drink," the word “Calas” was first printed in 1880, and comes from one or more African languages, such as the Nupe word kárá, or "fried cake. Calas came to New Orleans with the slaves from Ghana, where they grow rice and were one of the many foods that both slaves and free women of color sold in the streets of New Orleans. Prior to being being purchased there was the Code Noir in which there were two important rules. First all slaves had to have Sundays off as a result women would spend the day making and selling calas. Second if slaves approached their owners and demanded to pay for their freedom, the owner had to accept. It was often with calas money that many slaves freed themselves.

Some slaves had to share the money they earned with their masters, but there is more than one instance of slaves saving enough money to not only buy their own freedom, but that of their children as well. Free women used the money they earned to support themselves and their families. “The Cala woman was a daily figure on the streets she went her rounds in quaint bandana tignon, guinea blue dress and white apron, and carried on her head a covered bowl, in which were the dainty and hot Calas  The cries of ‘Belle Cala Tout Chaud!’ (Beautiful Cala, All Hot!) in the 1700s, calas vendors would stand outside St. Louis cathedral, waiting for church to let out. Calas referred to as Creole rice fritters or rice doughnuts have been replaced by the modern day Beignets in most areas of New Orleans however calas can still be made to order in some restaurants and are mentioned in in most Creole cuisine cookbooks. They are delicious for either breakfast or teatime if made with salt and pepper instead of sugar they go well with bacon and eggs. Calas are perfect served as a dessert or snack with coffee.

Calas (sweet)
(Serves 4 to 6)
    2 cups cooked rice, cooled
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 to 1 cup flour, just to make a good batter
    oil for deep frying
    confectioners' sugar
  In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and baking powder. (for best results, begin prepare the night before if making savory omit sugar & substitute spices preferred) If doing overnight proofing add the eggs, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and flour the next morning Adding just enough flour to hold batter together. (it should drop from a spoon and stay together)
  Heat oil about 365 degrees drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry in small batches roll over until golden brown and crisp (about 6 - 8 minutes) Drain on paper towels and generously sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still hot.

No comments:

Post a Comment