One of the most universally loved things on this planet has to be fried food. Don't you agree? Keep a plate of fried goodies anywhere in the line of my vision and the hidden ninja in me emerges to polish off everything within seconds! My appalling lack of self-control is the only reason why I cannot afford to make fried food at home very often....boo hoo :(
On the rare occasions that I do fire up a pot of oil, I usually go the Indian route. This time round, I thought I'd make something with more of a western flair. In the past, I've made fried potato cheese balls using a mixture of mashed potatoes, minced green chillies, grated cheese and chopped parsley but me and especially hubs kept thinking that it needed a little something else. I wasn't keen on posting a recipe that I wasn't completely satisfied with so I thought I would play around with the ingredients a little more until I got what I was looking for. I didn't follow any particular recipe for this version of potato cheese balls. I just put together ingredients that I felt went well together and hoped for the best!
These bite-sized golden balls are a great idea for parties since they would not only be a hit with the kids but the adults too. What I like about them best is the contrast of textures - the golden brown, crispy breaded outer layer encasing the soft and gooey, cheesy potato filling. Not to mention the few ingredients and simple preparation procedure (gotta love that!).
Potato Cheese Balls
Preparation time: 1-11/2 hrs
Recipe Level: Easy
Serves: 2 -3
For the filling:
4-5 medium potatoes, boiled and thoroughly mashed (preferably Russet potatoes)
11/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 bulb garlic, roasted Optional but recommended
1 bulb garlic, roasted Optional but recommended
1 bunch chives or spring onion greens, washed & chopped
2-4 jalapeños depending on your spice level, finely chopped (alternatively you can use green chillies)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
For the coating:
1/2 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs/panko
2 eggs, whisked and seasoned with salt & pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
- Cook the potatoes till soft, peel the skin and mash, ensuring that there are no lumps.
- Remove the extra layers of outer papery skin of the bulb of garlic, cut 1/4th of the tips to expose the pods, drizzle some olive oil and place the bulb (cut side up) on aluminium foil and wrap tightly. Roast in an oven at 200 deg C (400 deg F) for about 40 min until soft, caramelized and brown. Let it cool down before unwrapping the foil.
- Add salt, black pepper, chives, jalapeños, & grated cheese to the potato mixture. Now grasp the garlic bulb and squeeze it to release the roasted garlic (it oozes out like toothpaste!). Mix well.
- Divide into equal portions and shape into small balls. Don't make them too big because they will further increase in size after coating with egg, flour and breadcrumbs.
- Keep the coating ingredients ready. Beat egg with a hand beater or folk and season it with a pinch of salt and pepper. Take some plain flour in a bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a wide, dry plate or bowl.
- First dip the potato ball into the beaten egg mixture, then roll in flour (dust off the extra flour), then again dip the ball into the beaten egg and lastly roll the ball in bread crumbs until it is uniformly covered.
- Arrange them on a plate in a single layer, cover with foil/cling-wrap and refrigerate for 30 min or until firm. If you are pressed for time, you can just refrigerate it until the oil heats up.
- Heat the oil for deep frying on medium-low heat. Make sure the oil is nicely hot before proceeding. Fry the potato cheese balls till golden brown (this hardly takes few seconds). Remember that the potato filling is already cooked so the point of frying is solely to get the coating crispy, golden brown and the insides hot.
- Serve hot with your choice of sauce (ketchup, chill sauce, ranch dressing or barbecue sauce).
- You can use whatever cheese you like in this recipe. In the past, I have used a combination of parmesan, cheddar & mozzarella as well.
- Make sure the potato balls are well coated with the egg mixture, flour and breadcrumbs or else the cheese may ooze out while frying.
- If you don't want to use egg in this recipe, you can make a thin paste out of flour and water and use it to dip the potato cheese balls in.
- Use fresh and a neutral tasting oil for frying.
- Make sure that the oil used for frying is hot (but not smoking) before you drop the potato balls in. Wait for a few minutes between batches so that the oil has enough time to heat up again.
- Leaving the potato balls for too long in the oil might make it crumble and cause the cheese to ooze out so watch it closely!