Fried Cheesy Jalapeño Poppers

3 cups canola oil
16 jalapeños
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cup Monterey Jack, shredded finely
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs

1. Make a slit down the middle of each jalapeño, being sure to keep the stem end intact, and slice off the end. Using a small spoon (I used an espresso spoon), scoop out the membrane and seeds.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, cumin, salt and pepper.

3. Add canola oil to a medium pot (or cast iron skillet) and heat to 350F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, stuff each jalapeño with a small spoonful of cheese mixture.

5. In batches, dip jalapeños in flour, egg, panko bread crumbs, and then dip once more in egg and panko bread crumbs. Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain and serve immediately.
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