A finger food that should be served with good white wine, this dish of deep fried mashed potato balls stuffed with mozzarella was inspired by Scotch eggs. If you haven’t heard of Scotch eggs, they are hard-boiled eggs wrapped with ground meat then deep fried. When sliced, you get a cross section of egg yolk, egg white and meat. I tried making Scotch eggs a couple of times and the ground meat coating always burst during frying. I’m more successful with mashed potatoes and cheese.
These mozzarella stuffed deep fried mashed potato balls contains no meat. Just cubes of mozzarella cheese wrapped with cooled mashed potatoes that are coated with panko (Japanese bread crumbs) before going into the hot oil.
The three main ingredients: cheese, mashed potatoes and panko. If you’ve been using regular bread crumbs all your life, try panko (Japanese bread crumbs). It’ll change the way you think about bread crumbs.
Your mashed potatoes should be stiff so that when stuffed with a mozzarella cube, you can wrap the mashed potatoes around it and still hold its shape.
Once all the mozzarella cubes have been wrapped in mashed potatoes, the balls are rolled in panko.
Then fry. In batches, if necessary to ensure that the temperature of the oil does not drop too much.
It takes less than a minute to get the mozzarella balls to to turn golden and crisp. Drain well before serving.
Mozzarella stuffed deep fried mashed potato balls
- Start heating the vegetable oil in a wok.
- Set aside a teaspoonful of mashed potato.
- Take a heaping teaspoonful of mashed potato and form into a ball.
- Using your thumb, make a deep indentation at the center then push in a mozzarella cube.
- Lightly push the mashed potato upward to cover the cheese.
- Repeat until you have 10 mozzarella stuffed balls.
- Roll the mashed potato balls in panko lightly patting to make the bread crumbs stick.
- Take the reserved mashed potato, form into a ball and drop in the hot oil. If it browns too fast, turn down the heat and wait a few minutes for the temperature to drop a bit.
- If the ball sinks and stays there, the oil is not hot enough. Turn up the heat and wait a minute or two for the temperature to rise.
- Drop the mozzarella stuffed mashed potato balls one by one into the hot oil. It should take less than a minute for the bread crumbs to turn crisp and golden brown, and for the mozzarella to melt inside the mashed potato.
- Scoop out the fried mashed potato balls, let any excess oil drip then serve the mozzarella balls at once.
The frying is only meant to melt the cheese and make the bread coating crisp. There is really nothing to “cook” because all the ingredients are already ready to eat. So, don’t fry the balls for too long. Don’t think that it is safer to cook longer at a low temperature rather than risk burning the bread crumbs with a too high temperature. That’s why it is important to test the oil first before dropping in the cheese stuffed balls. The quick frying is essential so that the mashed potato’s texture stays light and fluffy. If fried for too long, the potato will soak up too much oil. Worse, the mozzarella might start oozing out of the mashed potato.