Fried cheese is a dish prepared using cheese that is fried in oil. Fried cheese can be dipped in a batter before frying, and can be pan-fried or deep fried. It can be served as an appetizer or a snack. Fried cheese is a common food in Brazil, and is typically served as a breakfast dish in Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. Fried cheese is served as a tapas dish in Spain, and in Spain fried cheese balls is referred to as delicias de queso (English: "Cheese delights"). It is also a dish in Italian cuisine. Fried cheese is typically served hot, right after being cooked. It may be accompanied with a dipping sauce or coated with a dressing.
Fried cheese has been documented as being a popular dish in Cairo, Egypt, during the Middle Ages, and remained a part of the cuisine through the time of the Ottoman occupation. After this period, its popularity markedly decreased with time.
Queso Frito (English: "fried cheese") is a fried cheese dish with several variations around the world. Spanish versions sometimes use paprika to spice the dish. It is also a dish in Central American cuisine.
Malakoff is a Swiss fried cheese dish.
Saganaki is a Greek term that refers to dishes prepared using a small frying pan. The most common saganaki is fried cheese.
Smažený sýr (Czech) or Vyprážaný syr (Slovak) is a cheese that is prepared by being coated in flour, placed in an egg wash and then coated with bread crumbs, after which it is deep fried. It is a common street food in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Kaassoufflé is a deep-fried Dutch fast food snack of cheese inside a breaded wrap.
In Hungary fried cheese is a common cheap dish, served in restaurants or at home, usually made from the locally popular trappista cheese which makes up 70% of the country's cheese consumption. It is a poor man's version of vegetarian food in restaurants which don't really care to offer more professional vegetarian dishes and only resort to fried cheese and deep fried vegetables as a main course option to any person who doesn't eat meat. Its name is "rántott sajt" which simply means "fried cheese" or "deep fried cheese". It is almost always served in a square or in a triangular shape.
A significant amount of oil is absorbed into cheese when it is fried, and the frying of cheeses adds advanced lipid end products and dicarbonyls to advanced glycation end-products that are already present in cheeses. The advanced lipid end products are generated in a chemical reaction that occurs when the oil is intermingled with the proteins in cheeses. Furthermore, most cheeses are salty. As such, fried cheese has been described as an unhealthy dish.
In Brazil, the chronic consumption of fried cheese has been demonstrated to be one of the dietary risk factors associated with oral cancer incident rates.
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