Versatile halloumi cheese works so well with spices: add interest with chili, lime and garlic
In the warmer months, versatile halloumi cheese is something we cook frequently. We add it to salads, grill it over charcoal, or as we have here, marinate it in garlic and chili and fry until crispy. Fried halloumi isn’t stringy or gooey, but has a firm bite and meaty texture, (and can squeak as you eat it).
It takes a marinade very well. Here, we’re using a classic combination of chili, garlic, and lemon or lime juice. Let it absorb the flavours of the marinade for a few hours, and then cook. Dust in corn starch, fry until it’s crispy on the outside, and serve with your favourite salad leaves.
Adjust the marinade to your taste: more or less chili, depending on how much you like heat, and similarly with garlic. For some variation, try adding capers, or preserved lemons, or soy sauce to your marinade.
Halloumi is now hugely popular in the UK, with more being consumed here than any other country apart from Cyprus, its original home. Because no acid or acid-producing bacteria are used in it’s production, it has a very high melting temperature, and hence its usefulness in the kitchen. It’s bought shrink-wrapped in brine, and so will keep for ages in the fridge, making it a really useful store cupboard stand-by.
- 1 dsp Olive Oil
- 1 Finely chopped red chilli
- Squeeze of lemon or lime
- 1 dsp soy sauce
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- Pepper (no salt as the cheese is already fairly salty)
- Block halloumi
- 1 dsp Cornflour
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
Cut the halloumi into 1cm cubes or slices, add to the marinade and leave for a few hours, preferably overnight in the fridge.
Remove the halloumi from the marinade, roll in the cornflour and then fry over a high heat in vegetable oil, moving all the time until golden and crispy.
Add the remains of the marinade to the pan, cook until reduced, serve immediately on a bed of salad.
Add capers, preserved lemons or soy sauce to the marinade.
5 more great ways of serving halloumi
- Grilled over charcoal, in a burger bun. Add tomato, lettuce and some barbecue sauce for a vegetarian friendly choice. Or top your halloumi with grilled peppers and hummus
- Wrap sticks of halloumi in bacon or pancetta, and grill or fry for a variation on devils on horseback. Add your favourite herbs for an additional flavour.
- Cut the halloumi into squares, and skewer onto kebab sticks with vegetables.
- On of our favourite recipes: fried halloumi salad with baked pomegranate grapes. The acid of the pomegranate molasses contrasts so well with salty halloumi and sweet grapes
- A vegetarian breakfast fry up that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters: fried halloumi and mushrooms and tomatoes, served with avocado on sourdough toast.
Post originally published July 2007, updated May 2017