Very Cheesy Potato Balls with Ham by Lily Tan

Ingredients: (make approx. 20 balls)
A) For Mashed Potato:
(Make as you would normally do. Alternatively, you may follow below.)
- 4 Medium Starchy Potatoes (eg russets, Indonesian potato)
- 1/2 Cup Warm Fresh Milk
- 3 tbsp Melted Butter (melt it using microwave or pan) {Salted or unsalted, both ok.}
- Parmesan Cheese (finely grated, amount up to preference)
- Spring Onions (chopped, amount up to preference)
- Onion (chopped moderately fine, amount up to preference)
- Salt & Black Pepper

B) For Fillings:
- 1/2 Cup Ham Bits* (Any ham of your preference, cut into approx. 0.7cm cube - can either buy ham then chop up yourself or buy ready-cut ham bits.)
- Approx. 100g Cheese Bits** (eg Mozzarella, Cheddar - cut similar size as ham bits)
* I used pre-packed ham bits from Cold-Storage
** I like mozzarella's mild flavour and elastic chewy texture; used "Perfect Italiano" Mozzarella Cheese Block.

C) For Deep-fry Coat:
- 1 Egg (lightly beaten)
- Approx. 100g Panko

1. To make mashed potato - rinse and scrub potatoes, pierce several holes with a fork, put in a pot of water (water level about 1-inch above potatoes), add 1 tsp salt, bring water to boil, cook till potatoes are fork-tender, remove skin.

2. Mash up potatoes in a big bowl, add butter and warm milk bit by bit to get a texture that is not too dry, not too moist, moderately soft and creamy. {Need own judgement, it should be a texture which you can roll into a ball and not crack, at the same time, it should be firm enough to hold the fillings inside.}

3. Add Parmesan Cheese, spring onions and onions to potato, mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To make balls, place 1 tbsp mashed potato on palm (may slightly grease palm with remaining butter), roll into a ball and then flatten it. Add 2-4 pcs each of mozzarella and ham in the centre. Then cover with another tbsp of potato, try to move both palms to mould and roll it into a ball again. Repeat for remaining potato. {Important: Cheese must be well-wrapped within; fine if ham is slightly exposed.}

{My potato balls are about fishball size, approx. 3.5cm. You will realize now why the bits are cut small, making rolling easier. Alternatively, you may cut ham even smaller and combine in the mashed potato like in Step 3.}

5. To deep-fry, get ready a wok with hot oil. First coat the ball with beaten egg, then toss it in the Panko, gently press to coat. Fry with medium-high heat for 2 mins or till crispy and golden-brown. {The frying should be swift as 1) potato is already cooked, 2) panko browns very quickly, 3) to maintain mozzarella's elastic texture within.}

6. Remove potato balls and drain excess oil. Best serve and consume immediately. Enjoy!