Rice cakes are a pain, the easiest way to get them is to simply buy rice cakes in packets and simply decorate them, yourself!. But if you really want to make your own rice cakes, its not that difficult.
I got a quick lesson from a rice cake vendor at Paklok Food Festival recently, you can see him in the video. He makes them from sticky-rice, the most important thing is to dry the rice cake thoroughly before frying.
Stick (Glutinous) Rice
Watermelon Juice (Optional)
Oil for deep frying
1. There's really not a lot of effort to this. Start by soaking the sticky rice for a good 4 hours or longer. You want it really soft.
2. Steam the rice in a steamer for 20 minutes or more, again you want this really soft and steamed.
3. Add some watermelon juice and stir it in. It's traditionally added for sweetness, but I find it works without this.
4. Press small discs out onto a drying mat, I only had a metal tray, so I made them on that, but the tray is not an ideal solution since we need to dry these circles out.
5. Dry completely, I used the sun to dry mine and it took 2 days. It is essential to get the moisture out completely, if you are using a metal tray like me, you should turn them and dry the other side.
6. Fry in hot oil. To puff up the oil needs to be very hot, I measure mine at 220 degrees Celsius (428 Fahrenheit) . They need to be dropped in, turned and removed, it takes only 20 seconds or so.
7. Drain them on kitchen paper and leave to cool.
8. For Thailand, you traditionally put a spiral of caramel on them for flavor.