Halloumi Majestic

So the Great British Summer is upon us and of course it’s all grey and drizzly out there.  I always swear by a big steaming cup of tea, with a good book in one hand and a plate of fresh bhajis to munch on as the most comforting way to counteract the dreaded June mizzle. But today I discovered something a little bit different, something that turned out to be astonishingly delicious….

It all started when I spied a sign for “vegetarian” fish and chips outside an old boozer in Spitalfields. On closer inspection this turned out to be chip shop battered halloumi and it got me daydreaming. After all, a speciality amongst  Bengali street food is “Ponir Majestic”;  which is spicy battered and deep fried ponir cheese (“paneer” is the softer, unsalted Indian version). So why not show a nice lump of halloumi an equally good time?

This recipe was the end result of that thought process and I must admit, it’s a bit of a beaut. In fact, I’m rather proud to have the sort of gluttonous mind that would dream up such a thing.

The results were a crisp, garlicky, cumin-scented crust which crunched satisfyingly into hot salty, molten cheese…it married well with tamarind chutney and went even better with a big splodge of Daddy’s sauce. As the cheese is already so salty you don’t really need to put much in the batter. And you definitely have to wolf it down fryer fresh, it doesn’t take kindly to hanging around. Luckily it was so good I’m slightly ashamed to admit I ate an entire block of the stuff in about 15 minutes and immediately felt the urge to buy more sheep’s cheese and pretty much repeat to fade. With a treat this tasty, there’s a part of me that definitely wants it to keep on drizzling….

ingredients

1 block of halloumi, drained and sliced ( I cut about 9 slices from one block)

½ wine glass of fizzy water

2 ½  oz (70g) gram (chickpea) flour

1 oz (30g)rice flour

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp good curry powder ( I used Tab & Sons)

1 tsp garam masala

¼ tsp salt (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1 heaped tsp dry roasted, ground cumin powder

Oil for deep frying

Kitchen paper for draining

method

  • Heat the oil up to deep frying pitch.
  • Stir together the gram and rice flours with the salt, garam masala, baking, cumin and curry powders.
  • Add the garlic and slowly stir in the water, until you have the consistency of double cream (don’t worry if there are a few lumps, this only enhances the texture of the crust)
  • Coat each slice of halloumi in the batter
  • Deep fry, drain and devour
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26 comments

  1. mmm sounds goooood. Where can one get ponir?

  2. I love halloumi and this looks like a splendid recipe. It’s widely available in the Middle East, so I’ll have to try it. Great Job!

  3. gastrogeek

    MsMarmitelover – this one’s definitely a keeper. Sadly I’ve never come across it over here, and have to rely on my relatives bringing me wodges from Bangladesh. Still, I’m sure it can’t be that hard to make. I made paneer the other day, and was amazed at how easy it is – boiling milk, lemon juice and a bit of muslin (or in my case an old Primark cotton dress)!

    Food Jihad – thanks v.much. Would love to know how you get on!

  4. I am also loving your gluttonous mind. Halloumi is just so bloody delicious isn’t it. There is something about the idea of battering cheese that is just so wrong, but I love it.

  5. I love halloumi – just cannot go wrong with it – fried and cheese what’s not to love?

  6. Ok – this sounds seriously good. Heaven knows how many packs of cheese I could get through…

    Btw, tayabbs!

  7. Oh my god, that’s the most deliciously filthy looking fried fromage I’ve ever seen. Love the token lettuce. PROMISE me you’ll make this for me some time x

  8. Sounds delish! I only have eaten halloum grilled in butter or stuffed in a pita and grilled and this is a nice and welcome change! Thanks!

    • gastrogeek

      Helen – it’s so wrong but indeed; so very very right…

      Gourmet Chick – my sentiments precisely!

      Alan – I was nearly sick I ate so much. Seriously! Yes, lets definitely hit Tayyabs soon

      Salty – ha! I thought the lettuce would make me feel less guilty ;) Will whip up a neighbourly batch once you’re all moved in X

      Taste of Beirut – you’re very welcome, I’m so pleased you like it!

  9. Oh my god Rejina. This dish would certainly not be hanging around once made in my kitchen! Sounds so yum. I quite like the combo of sumac with halloumi too. Mite make your recipe with half the batch & try the sumac in the batter mix as well in a few weeks when I have friends over:)

  10. This is food porn – !!! : )

  11. Ack, no, I cannot be having another deep fried recipe to add to my list! Geez, it sounds gorgeous though.

  12. Oh my, this sounds amazing. Such a brilliant idea.

  13. Awesome!! I’ve flirted with the idea of battered halloumi but never had the bravado to waste a perfect chunk on a trial.Yours looks p e r f e c t!

    • gastrogeek

      Maunika – ooh like the sound of it with sumac, will give that a try next time I’m frying some up.

      Fernandez & Lelluu – you love it!!! ;)

      Su- Lin – my apologies, but at the risk of sounding evangelical about it, it really is good…

      kerri – thanks, I hope I have a less calorific one next time though! :)

      Rashmi – cheers, that’s very kind of you!

  14. The Victoria Inn in Peckham does an amazing breaded halloumi snack, so I imagine this is just as good. Lovely stuff.

  15. Just the sort of healthy snack I love,much classier than deep fried Camembert..

  16. I daren’t try it… I adore halloumi… I can’t even imagine how divine it’d be battered and deep fried… this shouldn’t be legal ;-) You wicked temptress!

  17. Halloumi is as addictive as crack and you clearly have a problem Rej after getting through a block in 15 mins and then running out the door for more. The fact that you’re ‘modifying’ it worries me even more.

    Text HALLOUMICRACKWHORE to 86975 and we will get back you. We can help.

  18. Battered Halloumi, love it. The veggie restaurant down the road from me often does beer battered halloumi and I love it. I’d like to give your verson a go and see how it tastes with all the spice elements. Nice.

  19. Liz

    God, Rejina – this is one of the most atrociously good cooking ideas I’ve read in ages. The other half is *very* fond of halloumi; I’ll be making a batch of this at the weekend!

  20. gastrogeek

    Lizzie – thanks for the tip off, will definitely try it next time I’m in the area.

    northern snippet – nice, I like your style.

    rhwfoodie – I’m sorry, I’m sorry…! :)

    food urchin – HAHAHAHHAHA! That’s quite possibly the best comment I’ve ever had.

    essexeating – thanks Dan, I’d love to know how you get on if you do ever give it a go!

    Liz – Thanks – As Katy says, it’s pure filth really isn’t it?! Would love to know how it’s received!

  21. Looks amazing this.
    Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with Halloumi..!
    Must give this a try.
    I was compiling a list of songs with cheese titles on Facebook not so long ago (things like Gouda get you into my life by Earth wind and fire, Let it Brie by the The Beatles etc etc)
    And somebody came up with Hallou (is it) mi you’re looking for by Lionel Rich-cheese

  22. I love halloumi and I usually put it on the grill each time we have BBQ. Your recipe sounds so yummy, I will surely try it very soon. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  23. I love halloumi but I usually end up eating the whole pack by myself which can’t be healthy.

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