Our culinary adventures in Egypt continue today with a recipe for oven fried feta cheese balls. I was skeptical that this would work, but they turned out great! Even better they went well when served with a platter of tomates jarra marra, a little dukkah and tahini yogurt.
The recipe on Food dot com calls these gebna makleyah and the feta cheese is a substitution for a fresh Egyptian cheese.
These little two bite wonders were much better than anticipated. They baked up crispy outside. When warm out of the oven they’re tender, but when they cool down they become chewier. I liked them both ways, especially when wedged into a pita triangle with a some tomato and tahini yogurt.
You’ll want to use a rimmed baking sheet or dish to make these because of the generous amount of oil needed to work the oven fried magic. Choose regular olive oil (not extra virgin) or sunflower oil to get the job done.
I got an even dozen from a 200 gram (about 7 ounces) package of feta cheese. The original recipe called for a single tablespoon of flour, but I ended up adding more plus some bread crumbs to create a mix that could be formed into balls. We typically buy large eggs, so that may account for the need to add more bulk. You’ll have to feel it out when you make your own mix. A cookie scoop (affiliate link) was helpful in portioning the cheese mix.
- 200 grams feta cheese, drained and crumbled (about 7 ounces...whatever the standard size in the store is fine)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 - 2 tablespoons flour
- ¼ cup or more bread crumbs (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a generous amount of oil (cover the bottom of the sheet)
- In a medium bowl mix the beaten egg, crumbled feta cheese and 1 tablespoon of flour together. Add more flour and/or bread crumbs as needed until the mix can be formed into balls that don't fall apart.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion the mix.
- Place the balls on the baking sheet and gently roll them around in the oil. Arrange them without touching and give each one a gentle pat to flatten it out slightly.
- Bake for 5 - 7 minutes on each side or until a pleasant golden brown color.
- Serve with slices of fresh lemon and pita bread.
I haven’t tried to use a different type of cheese, but I’m thinking other fresh cheeses like Oaxaca would work for these. It may also be interesting to add some chopped herbs to the mix before forming into balls.