Ooey, gooey, yummy, cheesy... does it get any better than breaded, fried, melty mozzarella cheese?
This recipe combines two elements of traditional Chanukah food—cheese and oil.
Why oil? After winning the war against the Syrians, the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Since the Temple's golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, but by a miracle of G‑d, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available, which is why we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Because of the miracle of oil, it's traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukah (like doughnuts and latkes).
It is also customary to eat dairy foods on Chanukah, in commemoration of the bravery of Yehudit. Click here to read the story of this brave woman whose daring courage led to a great Maccabee victory.
So these fried mozzarella sticks are a perfect Chanukah combination. You can even plate them in the shape of a menorah.
The two most important things to keep in mind when making this recipes are:
- Make sure you freeze the breaded cheese for at least 30 minutes before frying.
- Make sure your oil is not too hot, otherwise the crumbs will burn, the outer layer of melted cheese will push its way through the crumb and stick all over the bottom of the frying pan, while the inside stays frozen. Ie. You will end up with an inedible, burned mess.
Other than that, it's pretty simple!
- 10 mozzarella sticks (you can use string cheese, or cut a block of cheese to size)
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup flavored Panko crumbs
- oil for frying
- marinara sauce for dipping (optional)
- Coat each cheese stick in flour, then dip in egg and coat with the crumbs.
- Place the coated cheese sticks on a tray or plate lined with wax or parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil to medium, then drop 2-3 sticks in the oil. Cook until brown on one side, then gently flip and cook until the other side is lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a piece of paper towel.
- Serve immediately, with warm marinara sauce for dipping (optional).