Thursday, June 3, 2010
Snack time, part II: Mozzie sticks and the wannabe
Mozzeralla cheese sticks are undoubtedly one of my favourite snack-cum-meal. Unfortunately, I rarely indulge in them because they're ridiculously costly to make. a block of mozzarella will easily set you back RM15 (at least) which would yield you just about seven mozzarella sticks. And trust me, given how delicious this snack is, that won't even last me past the first twenty minutes of any programme on TV.
It just doesn't make economic sense but my tummy doesn't get economics (neither does my mind, really) and so sometimes, I cave budgets be damned.
Even with a hard mozzarella bar, making these sticks can be a bit tricky because the cheese melts once you put them in the hot oil to fry. The secret is breading them enough so that the crumbs/flour/egg coating insulates them enough from the heat and they keep their form contained, more or less. The idea is to get the cheese to melt but not to leak.
What you will need is Mozzarella cheese of course cut into strips (or string cheese, which you will just have to half), an egg or two (beaten), all purpose flour (or rice flour) and bread crumbs (season with black pepper or herbs for better flavour) all in separate bowls.
Dip the Mozzarella sticks first in the flour, coating well. Next dip the floured sticks in egg, making sure it's well coated, and then breadcrumbs. Coat again in egg and once more in breadcrumbs. You really want a thick coating of breadcrumbs, neatly pressed in all around the stick of cheese.
Once you've coated all the sticks, chill them in the fridge for about 30 mins to firm them up. Heat up about 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet and once hot (but not steaming), gently drop in the chilled sticks and cook them over medium heat till the coating is nice and golden. Remove, drain and eat them while the cheese is warm. Actually, though these mozzarella sticks are prefereed to be eaten warm, while the cheese is all sticky and gooey, I like them cool as well.
Now, what if you're vegan and cheese is a no-no? try these imitation cheese sticks with tempeh (pic below). Superficially, you won't be able to tell the difference as the coating is the same.
The taste, however, is naturally different. It's not at all cheesy (unless you season the breading with dried Parmesan); rather, it's slightly nutty. This requires a little more effort as you have to season the tempeh well first. Tempeh on it's own is pretty tasteless and pungent. So you could season it with spices (cumin, curry, salt and pepper) or a honey-balsamic vinegar marinade. Season them overnight or for at least 4 hours before proceeding to coat them (as above).