Food Hack: Chelsea’s Risotto Balls

Words: Dwight Co/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/October 4, 2012

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What’s up with Chelsea? Several Pepper readers also shared their disappointment with Chelsea Market and Cafe after Mr. Delicious gave them the lowest review ratings ever seen on Pepper. Poor service and inventory-keeping aside, we wonder what keeps this posh resto thriving.

Perhaps, their only saving grace takes the form of these crunchy and fluffy risotto balls. We just love them so much that we hacked the recipe so you can enjoy these carbo-loaded treats at the comfort of your very own home. Yep, no need to troop all the way to this fancy schmancy resto. Plus, you get to save at least half the price.

We may just be biased (just as we are with bacon), but we think this hack is actually a major makeover of the original recipe. The risotto was cheesy and tasty enough on its own to be devoured even without the dip. They are definitely a far cry from the ones served at Chelsea. Wanna bet? Try them both and let us know whose recipe wins.


Risotto Balls (Arancini)

Total Time: 60 minutes / Yield: 24 risotto balls

Ingredients for the Risotto

  • 2 cups cooked Japanese rice
  • 3/4 cup Quickmelt cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup cream

Ingredients for the Risotto Breading

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • oil, for frying

Ingredients for the Jalapeño Dip

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped jalapeño
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Procedure for the Risotto

  1. Heat cream and melt cheeses in a non stick pan.
  2. When cheese has melted, add in cooked rice. Mix well, making sure the rice is well-coated with cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt.
  3. Pour in a deep container and chill. When rice mixture is firm, scoop into balls using an ice cream scooper.
  4. Set aside in the chiller again.

Procedure for frying the Risotto

  1. Arrange breading station: bowl 1 for flour, bowl 2 for egg, and bowl 3 for bread crumbs.
  2. Dust risotto ball with flour, dip in egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Repeat for remaining arancini.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat oil over medium flame. When oil starts to bubble lightly, fry the arancini in batches.
  5. Drain in paper towels and serve immediately.

Procedure for the Jalapeño Dip

  1.  Melt butter over medium flame. Add in flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Pour milk in a steady stream while continuously whisking. Season with salt, and boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in jalapeño. Transfer to blender or food processor and puree until smooth.


  1. Chilling the risotto balls before frying makes it easier to handle. Also, if you don’t want the sauce to get too spicy, remove some of the jalapeño seeds.



Dwight Co

Managing Director/Founder

When he was nine, Dwight stormed the kitchen and proudly cooked himself his first dish, Spam and eggs. Realizing his immense talent for cooking canned food, he co-founded in 2012. Aside from directing's content and design, Dwight also makes websites and runs a tiny ramen house in Burgos Circle called Wrong Ramen. See More.

  • Roanne Rae Cabradilla

    Oh! Those look really goooooooooooooooood! D:

    • Den Alibudbud

      Extremely addictive, but you actually can’t eat too much because the rice is heavy. 😀 Try it, try it!

  • kitkat

    Cool. a “MUST” to try this one. Just the mis en place is a bit preppy. Where can we buy Jalapeno pepper (fresh ones)?

    • Den Alibudbud

      Yeah, I hate working with anything that requires breading because it’s always such a mess. Totally worth it though. :) I haven’t seen fresh jalapenos around, but the canned stuff is usually readily available. Let us know if you like it! (You will.)

  • Nico Goco

    what are the small arancini filled with? the ones with black filling?

    • Den Alibudbud

      Oh, those are olives! That’s how Chelsea serves it. 😀

      • Nico Goco

        my bad 😀 i honestly thought they were mini squid ink risotto balls!

        • Den Alibudbud

          Well, now there’s an idea. 😉

  • Anna Kurzaeva

    Love the mood of the photos: rustic and stylish!

    • Den Alibudbud

      Thank you, Anna! More importantly, I hope they made you hungry! :)

      • Anna Kurzaeva

        Without any doubt! They look appetizing :)

  • rftreyes

    You guys are correct that their Risotto balls are what keeps people coming back (including us). It’s like a cocaine addiction to some.
    Good thign their Mr. Jones in Greenbelt and Stella in Bonifacio High Street Central fare better. Oh. They have great cocktails, too 😀 ! (talking of Stella) – Ray

    • Den Alibudbud

      Hmm, how’s the service in Mr Jones and Stella? :)

      • rftreyes

        So far in the numerous times we have visited, the service is quite ok :)

        • Den Alibudbud

          Time to stakeout! Hehehe

  • Athena

    Will this also work with Macaroni for some Fried Mac N Cheese Balls? :)

    • Den Alibudbud

      Only one way to find out! :)

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  • Ayari

    hmmm risotto balls with japanese rice and not with arborio?