One of my favorite dishes in one of my favorite restaurants in Kuala Lumpur is masala cheese balls at the Gem Restaurant in Little India. However, the last time I went there (to celebrate my birthday no less) they were all out. At first, there was anger, shock, and denial. After the sadness set in, I came to the realization that I have no balls and what a sad fate that is. Then came the epiphany that if God takes away your balls, the powers that be open up a window of opportunity for you to try and create your own. Well, I tried and although not exactly the same dish, what resulted was equally as delicious and addictive.
Imagine a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie that just came out the oven a few minutes ago and is now ready for devouring. Now, imagine that instead of being sweet, it is cheesy and instead of chocolate chips, there are bits of green chilies and scallions. This is the best way to describe masala cheese pancakes-a warm, gooey and slightly spicy mini cheese pancake.
Fairly easy to throw together and great for impressing guests, these masala cheese pancakes are perfect as a starter for a dinner party, cocktail hour or holiday get together. Pair with a nice glass of wine or a citrus cocktail and you’ll be set. Serve with your favorite tomato chutney or a spicy cucumber Indian inspired salsa for an added kick of spice.
Masala Cheese Pancakes
2 cups/250g Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 cup/128g flour
1 green chile (finely chopped)
2 tbsp scallions (finely chopped)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 cup/245g plain yogurt
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, black pepper and spices and mix well. Add chopped green chile and scallions and toss to combine. Add grated cheddar cheese and mix well so as to incorporate the cheese with the flour. Lastly, combine yogurt with the cheese and flour mix and thoroughly combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be wet and a little sticky.
Heat a splash of oil in a non-stick frying pan or skillet over low/medium heat. Add a teaspoon of batter to the pan one at a time and cook until golden on each side. Serve hot with tomato chutney or cucumber salsa.
Spicy Cucumber Salsa (optional)
1 small cucumber
1 medium tomato
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 red birds eye chilies (depends on your tolerance for spice)
1-2 tsp madras curry powder (depends on your tolerance for spice)
Chop cucumber, tomato, scallions and birds eye chillies and mix together. Add lemon juice and curry powder and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.