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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mochi cheese balls or pao-de-queijo

Say cheese !

Pao-de-queijo is a street food popular in Brazil and most of South America. Rumours has it that it has Japanese roots -  when Japanese migrants bought the mochi to Brazil. The Brazilians in turn adapted this little snack using the more common tapioca flour and gave it a local name, pao-de-queijo, which means 'cheese bread' in Portuguese.

Crispy on the outside and moist inside, the chewy balls oozes the fragrance of cheese and goes nicely with a cup of coffee. The cheese balls are traditionally made entirely of tapioca flour but  I reduced the chewiness  a tad and fluffing it a little by adding glutinous flour ( tweak the ratio of the flour to find your favorite texture). The process and end result bears resemblance to éclairs or puffs but pao-de-queijo wins hands down because it is good on its own.

Makes about 22 medium cheese balls.

Ingredients :
1 cup milk
1/4 butter or canola oil ( I use oil but butter will intensify the richness of the flavor )
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g glutinous rice flour
250g tapioca flour or casava flour
3 eggs - lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine glutinous and tapioca flour in a bowl.
Bring oil, milk and salt to a boil in a large sauce pan. Remove pot from  the heat immediately to prevent curdles.
With a sturdy wooden spoon at hand, pour flour into the hot milk in a steady stream, stirring vigorously. You will see the dough clump.
Leave the pot of cooked dough to cool for about 10 minutes. Add egg and then cheese, stirring until the dough appears homogenous.

Preheat the oven to 190 C

On a lightly oiled baking tray, scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough for each ball, making little round mounds. To give the finished product sheen and smoothness, moisten your palms with water and roll out the kinks before putting them on the tray. It is a bit tacky at this stage but the results will show that it is totally worth it.

Bake the cheese balls for 21-22 minutes or until slightly tanned. Best eaten on the day it is baked.

This post will be submitted to  Aspiring Bakers #6: SayCheese! (April 2011) hosted by Jean of Noms I Must.


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