Halloumi curry with a thick sauce heady with black pepper & fennel is the perfect contrast to the creamy almost sour tones of the cheese.
This easy vegetarian curry is nice and quick too, it will cook in around 30 minutes and that includes toasting and grinding the whole spices.
Fried Cheese Curry
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese with wonderful qualities for frying and grilling. It has a mellow sour and salty flavour and a texture that often divides.
Here I have gone completely “off-reservation” and put my spin on an Indian-inspired halloumi curry.
Mainly because I think that the combination of halloumi and black pepper is glorious.
The sauce for this curry is very much a derivation of the one I use in my Tamil black pepper curry and it is magic with the soft fried halloumi cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
How hot is this curry?
I would classify this curry as being hot to very hot.
However, most of that heat comes from black pepper rather than chilli which is a different kind of heat. It has a long-lasting fierce after burn but as it is not capsaicin I find that it cools much easier.
Do I have to use whole spices?
No, you could use ground spices if you like.
But freshly ground spices have a much more fragrant flavour that I think is important in this dish. They also add a textural quality that I quite like.
Can I make this in advance?
I would not recommend doing this. Halloumi cheese goes rubbery when it has been heated and cooled and I have not found a reliable way to get rid of that rubbery texture when it is reheated.
Can I make this with paneer?
Yes, but you need to be a little more careful when frying paneer because it is not as stable as halloumi cheese.
I would make the sauce in one pan and fry large pieces of paneer in a separate pan, then gently combine the two.
This halloumi curry is a dry dish without a load of sauce, and as a result, my choice of flatbread for this is a pile of homemade chapatis.
Tandoori-style naan bread works well too, but there is not a lot of gravy that needs mopping up.
I also like to add a cooling element to contrast the fiery black pepper and for that, I use a mint raita, although I omit the usual cucumber.
I’ve rounded this dish out in these pictures with some kachumber salad to provide a freshness and some texture.
Rice is always a solid option with a curry, and a simple pilau rice matches this dish wonderfully.
If you wanted something a little more hearty, then a great leftfield option would be my roast Bombay potatoes.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
- Kitchen knife.
- Chopping board.
- Spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
This quick and delicious halloumi cheese curry has a thick and fiery yet fragrant sauce that gets its punch from black pepper, a spice often taken for granted but here it gets a starring role.
- 225g (8oz) Halloumi Cheese
- 1 Medium (150g or 1 Cup) Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
- ½ Tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ½ Tsp Dried Mint
- ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
- 125ml (½ Cup) Water
- 1 Tsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- Cut the halloumi cheese into 2cm (¾") cubes.
- Cut the onion in half, peel it and then cut it into half-moon shapes around 5mm (¼") thick.
- Peel and finely dice the garlic cloves.
- Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat and toast the black pepper, coriander, fennel and cumin seeds until they become fragrant which will take 2-3 minutes, then grind in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
- Return the pan to a medium-high heat and add the cooking oil, when the oil is hot add the onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly.
- Add the dice halloumi and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, the aim is to start getting a nice bit of colour on the cheese.
- Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for another minute or two.
- Sprinkle over the ground spice mix, the Kashmiri chilli powder, dried mint and give everything a stir to coat.
- Add the water, salt and brown sugar, stir, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until you have a really thick sauce and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 535Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1338mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 27g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.