Smoky Mozzarella Sticks
As soon as I realised I’d somehow made a vegan mozarella, my mind started racing with possibilities. I think it says a lot about who I am that one of my first ideas was to DEEP FRY IT!!
These guys are not your standard moz sticks. The cheese itself is smoky and garlicky and packed with umami vibes. The delicious sourdough crumb coating is fragrant with oregano and MORE GARLIC! Dunk these fellas into a bowl of wholegrain mustard and you’ve got yourself a DREAM SNACK!
Let me mention one more thing. I love you all and I’m SO glad you’re here but by JEEBUS if any of you choose to ignore my call for ODOURLESS coconut oil and then complain about a coconutty flavour, I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you (yes, that’s a quote from The Crucible). There are SO * MANY * BRANDS * of odourless coconut oil out there, find one and PUT IT TO GOOD USE!
Ok, rant over! MAKE SOME MOZ STICKS - You won’t regret it!!
For the Smoky Mozarella
35g raw unsalted cashews (soaked in boiling water for 1 hour)
2 tsp psyllium husk powder + 5 tsp water
1 tbsp agar powder + 3 tbsp boiling water
3 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave syrup
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2.5 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp marmite (or any yeast extract spread)
2 tsp flaky sea salt
55g deodorised (or odourless) coconut oil (melted)
350ml plant milk
For the Coating
50g gram flour
100g stale sourdough bread OR panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
To Make the Smoky Mozarella
In a small bowl, whisk together the psyllium husk powder and the water. Set aside to thicken.
Soak your cashews in boiling water for at least an hour. When soaked, drain and discard the water and transfer the cashews to the cup of a high speed blender along with all the remaining ingredients including the thickened psyllium husk.
Blend on highest speed for at least a minute - make sure the cashews are completely smooth - no chunks or sandy grains.
Transfer to a medium saucepan and place over a medium low heat, stirring constantly and vigarously with a whisk spatula. The liquid will start to thicken quite quickly. Keep going until the liquid is very thick and stringy (up to around 10 minutes depending on the heat you use) and resembles fondue or melted stringy cheese. When you stop stirring, the cheese should bubble around the edges. Remove from the heat.
Allow the cheese to cool to room temperature. Once cool enough to handle, place 3 tbsps of the cooled cheese onto a small sheet of cling film or reusable wax wrap. Roll up the cheese into roughly 3 inch cylinders and twist the ends of the plastic/wax wrap, like a little sausage. Repeat with all the cheese. Place in a small baking tray and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Right before you remove the cheese from the freezer, prepare your coating.
To Make the Coating
If you’ve chosen to use the stale sourdough instead of the panko, you’ll need to make some breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven to 150c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof parchment or a reusable silicone mat. Place the sourdough into a food processor or high speed blender one slice at a time and blitz until coarsely breadcrumbed. Transfer the breadcrumbs to the baking tray and bake in the oven for roughly 20 minutes, stirring half way through. Keep an eye on the breadcrumbs and do not allow them to burn! All sourdough will cook at a different rate depending on how stale it is, so the 20 minute bake time is just an estimate. Once baked, allow to cool fully and then use as directed.
You’ll need 3 small mixing bowls for this step. In the first bowl, place the plain flour. Set aside. In the second bowl, mix together the gram flour and the water. Set aside. In the third bowl, combine the remaining coating ingredients. Set aside.
Remove the cheese “sausages” from the freezer. One by one, roll them in the flour, then the gram flour mixture, then the breadcrumbs. Set on a plate or baking tray when done and repeat until all the cheese is dunked. Leave the cheese on the plate to defrost slightly for around 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes is up, fill a medium, high sided saucepan about 3-5 inches deep with vegetable oil. Place over a medium/low heat and bring to oil to around 180c. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, lower two mozarella sticks into the oil at a time. Fry for roughly 2-3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are beautifully golden brown. Remove from the oil and leave to drain on a piece of kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining sticks.
I like to serve mine with wholegrain mustard but I’m told the traditional sauce is a nice marinara. You do you! Just make sure you enjoy them!