I, like most people in the world, dream of deep-frying anything that can be deep-fried. Because in my head, like in the heads of most people, things taste better when dunked in hot oil, mercilessly browned and delectably crispy.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side of the calorie-acceptance line you stand, I’ve lately discovered a certain aversion towards a number of things deep-fried. (French fries, please don’t ever leave me). The dream largely tastes great only in the dream. I can’t stomach even the thought of deep-fried Snickers and a too-slick burger can put me out of action for days.
Also, the stuff tastes phenomenal.
These mozzarella sticks are a delicious, slightly nerve-wracking alternative to the fried version if like me, you’re using shredded cheese and not the easy-to-peel-off string cheese.
But, gooey melty cheese is good no matter what!
There are a lot of vegan mozzarella recipes out there, but as far as a baked recipe goes, I liked this one. It’s not meant for shredded mozzarella though and I discovered that without breadcrumbs, shredded cheese really does not stay together once baked. So my version uses both bread and a bit of flour to bind everything together.
I’m also guilty of being a Dominos Pizza seasoning hoarder. That went into these little guys. Whole other kind of flavour, you should try it 🙂
I made these the same weekend as the quesadillas and the ice-cream sandwiches, so you could say not frying was a good decision. Hot from the oven, oozing cheese that gets browned just right. They were gone before I could say ‘mozzarella’.
What you’ll need
Shredded mozzarella cheese, chilled
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsps pizza seasoning, or herbs of your choice
1 tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
What to do
1. Place the milk in a wide, shallow bowl. Place the flour in another shallow bowl, add the spices and seasoning and mix. Preheat the oven to 175 C.
2. Using your palms and fingers, shape the shredded mozzarella into 2-inch long sticks, about the width of a finger. Dip in the milk, then in the flour mixture. Repeat till you have about 10 such mozzarella sticks. Place them on a lightly greased baking tray.
3. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the sticks have spread and are lightly browned. At this stage, I felt they needed more binding, and them came the breadcrumbs. Using tongs, dip the sticks into a bowl of breadcrumbs, turning over to coat well.
4. Place them back on the tray and bake for 5 minutes on each side until golden-brown and crispy. Serve hot!
You could also try using only breadcrumbs from the very beginning. Since I improvised halfway through, I’d love to know if that works for you!