**WARNING! This recipe involves sharp utensils that can cause lacerations and hot oil that can cause severe burns.
Note: Ingredients will vary highly depending on how many cheese balls you would like to make. The amounts given below should provide enough for 10 cheese balls.
-1 Block mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)
-2 cups flour
-1-2 tablespoons salt
-1 tablespoon pepper
-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
-2 tablespoons garlic powder
-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
-Vegetable oil (approximately 3 inches of oil)
-1/4 cup milk (Skim, 1%, or 2% - it doesn't matter which)
-1 large egg
-1 large bowl
-1 small bowl
-2 forks (or 1 fork and 1 whisk)
-1 pair of tongs
Once you have gathered all of these ingredients and utensils, you are ready to start prepping the batter!
Step 1: Prepare the Deep Fryer and Batter
2. Plug in the deep fryer to start heating the oil
3. Mix the flour, panko break crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in the large mixing bowl
**CAUTION: Be careful on the amount of salt that you add. The other seasonings also have salt, along with the flour and bread crumbs. If you are worried about adding too much, just add a little less.
--Tip: Because of the amount of flour and panko bread crumbs, you will need to add more seasoning that you might originally think is necessary. These two ingredients dilute the flavors more than you think, so be generous with the garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Step 2: Mix the Milk and Egg
1. Crack the egg into the small mixing bowl.
2. Pour the milk into the small mixing bowl with the egg.
3. With one of the forks, whisk the milk and eggs together until the two ingredients are completely mixed
--Note: A whisk can be used in place of a fork if one is available.
Step 3: Cut and Batter the Cheese
2. With the knife and cutting board, cut the cheese into squares.
--Tip: The cheese should be approximately 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. This way they will be bite sized and easier to fry.
3. Put the cheese into the milk and egg mixture and completely coat.
4. With the fork used to whisk the egg and milk, move the cheese from the small bowl to the large bowl.
5. Using the second fork, coat the cheese completely with the batter
--Important: You should not be able to see any part of the cheese after coating. This is important when frying, because the cheese will melt and you do not want it to escape the batter.
--Tip: Make sure not to use your fingers to batter the cheese. The process will be much cleaner and easier if two separate utensils are used to cover the cheese in the "glue" and to batter it.
Step 4: Fry the Battered Cheese
1. With the tongs, lightly grab one of the pieces of battered cheese.
2. While continuing to hold the cheese with the tongs, slowly dip the cheese into the hot oil
--Important: Holding the cheese while you fry it the first time is necessary so you can easily pull out the cheese, because there is not enough batter on it yet to keep it from oozing all over the oil.
3. After no more than 5 seconds, remove the cheese from the oil.
--Note: The batter may seem to have melted away when you take the cheese out of the oil the first time. This is normal, and explains why one coating and frying is not enough.
Step 5: Refry the Cheese Balls
--Important: As you fry, check the cheese frequently to make sure it is not oozing out of the batter. If it is, remove the cheese from the oil and re-batter before frying again.
1. Once you are confident the batter will hold the cheese inside of it, keep the cheese in the hot oil.
2. Remove the cheese from the oil when it is golden brown, and place on the plate with the paper towel on it.
3. Let the cheese ball cool for a minute or two before eating.
--Tip: Although the cheese ball will be flavorful by itself, it would taste great with warm marinara sauce.
Once you have made the first cheese ball, you can start frying the others. At first it may seem like a slow process, but once you get the pieces of cheese battered, it goes much more quickly. Keep adding more flour, bread crumbs, and spices as is necessary. Keep experimenting with different spices and enjoy!