Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted mostly
~ RL Stevenson
Imagine a distant bubble and a whole new world inside it. A place where the sun never sets, the grass is always green and there are happy people stretching out on lazy chairs, waiting for all good things that begin with “ch” to pop right out of the divine blue sky. Chocolates? Sure. But it’s the cheese that warrants a double yes. A place where, when the happy people relish these “ch” bites, the Beatles are crooning, Please Cheese Me. And where there’s never a dull moment, with the likes of Paula Deen hashing up non-fat cheese nibbles and Ogden Nash dishing out serious cheese poetry. And while you hold those laughs in your belly, there are cameras flashing in your face, quipping “Don’t say cheese!”
Well, now that you’re well bought into this cheese-pipe-dream, it wouldn’t be much then to ask that you beckon the Tadka girls to get on the case and whip up something real, something solid, something tantalizingly delish. And that’s exactly what we did. We made deep fried cheese balls, spicy, like all things Tadka, and potato-a-gooey, to lure tiny tastes and even big palates. So, let’s get on with the real deal then.
Deep Fried Potato and Cheese Balls
(Makes about 20 medium-sized balls)
For the cheese balls:
- 2 Large potatoes, boiled and mashed
- About 4 oz (approximately 110 grams) of grated cheese – Colby and Monterey Jack work great
- 1 Teaspoon each of salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder
- A dash of garam masala powder and anardaana powder (powdered dried pomergranate seeds)
- 1 Green chilli, finely chopped
- ½ Tablespoon each of finely minced ginger and garlic
- A bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 Stems of green onions, finely minced
For the batter to dip the balls in:
- ½ Cup Maida
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- (You could even use red chilli flakes here, instead of the pepper)
- 2 Tablespoons of fine semolina (rava)
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the potato and cheese ball ingredients together in a bowl and make balls of your preferred size. Keep them aside on a tray. While you make the batter, keep the oil to heat up in a pan for deep frying. Make the batter by adding a little bit of water at a time to the maida, semolina and salt-pepper-chilli mixture to avoid lumps. The batter should be thick enough to coat the balls – or to use an Indianism – just a touch thinner than the consistency of idli batter. Once the oil heats up, dip the balls one at a time in the batter and deep fry to a light brown crispness. (Maida won’t brown up the way chickpea flour does). Blot the oil off on paper towels and serve hot, with ketchup or chutney.
Well, toasted, smoked, melted..cheese in its multifarious forms has appealed to not only the likes of RL Stevenson, but even to the meager mice in Roald Dahl’s stories. And now, the Tadka-style deep fried cheese ball will possibly give Paula Deen a run for her money. Now rub those dreamy eyes and call friends over for a last-minute snack-a-thon so you can beam while these cheese balls make their rounds across the table. Remember, you first dreamt..er..learnt about it right here, on Tadka!