Andalusian cheese balls (مُجَبَّنة, mujabbana)

This was a speciality of the mediaeval Islamic west (al-Andalus, North Africa) and the cookbooks include quite a few recipes for mujabbanas, which were conspicuous by their absence from tables in the Near East. This 13th-century recipe requires flour, yeast and water to make a dough which is then shaped into balls and filled with cheese before deep frying in oil (though shallow frying also produces nice results). Don’t forget to drain them after removing them from the pan. They can also be turned into a sweet snack very easily through a generous dusting of sugar and cinnamon and with honey and rosewater for delicious dunking! There are a number of present-day descendants of the mujabbana, the most far-flung of which is probably the Brazilian pao de queijo.

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