Halloumi (Greek χαλούμι, Turkish hellim, Arabic حلوم ḥallūm) is a traditional Cypriot cheese made from either sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk. This semi-hard brined cheese has a high melting point and works wonderfully when grilled or fried. Cooking halloumi is simple enough. It is one of those ingredients where less is more.
When we lived in London for many years, halloumi was pretty much a staple since everyone in the house including the fussy kid (not naming anyone 😉) simply LOVED it. When we moved to the US in 2008, the two things we didn’t readily get was halloumi and marmite (Mr R loves it and I hate it but that’s another story- you either love or hate marmite- there’s nothing in between). After living in Atlanta at least a couple of years one day Mr R discovered a Greek shop where they sold both! Needless to say he got so excited (yeah, both of us are foodies and we do get excited about food) and spent an insane amount of $$$ in that grocery haul. Since then we’ve gone back again and again to that shop. I have to ask him the name of the shop because I cannot for the life of me remember! When we moved to Minnesota in 2018, we had some trouble finding those two things and lo and behold the husband, who has 0 interest in cooking, managed to find what he loved! So he is unofficially responsible for buying halloumi in our house. While I appreciate the effort there, I can’t say the same for the 6 tubs of marmite that at any given time sits in my pantry all year round. As soon as one finishes, another stock comes!
Going back to this dish, it is ready in literally 10 mins from start to finish. A simple balsamic vinegar and brown sugar reduction with cracked black pepper is all you need to dress this delicious dish. Remember halloumi has enough salt so there is no need to add any more!@sarchakra
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOK TIME:5 mins
- Black pepper 2 tsp, cracked
- Balsamic vinegar 4 tbsp
- Brown sugar 1 tbsp
- Purple onion 2 tbsp, finely chopped
- Parsley for garnish
- Olive oil 2 tsp
- Discard the water from the halloumi block and use kitchen towels to pat dry. Slice the block into thick rectangular slices. Keep aside.
- Use a brush to spread olive oil in a non stick pan.
- Place the halloumi on the heated pan without the pieces touching each other. Cook till golden on one side before flipping the pieces and cooking the other side.
- While that is cooking, pour balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small pan and cook it for 2-3 mins till the mixture slightly thickens. Keep aside.
- Arrange the fried halloumi on a serving plate. Top with chopped onion.
- Drizzle the reduced balsamic on the halloumi. Sprinkle coarsely cracked black pepper.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve halloumi with bread.
Don’t overcook halloumi as it turns stringy. Keep the heat high so it almost starts to turn golden and char. If the heat is low, the water starts to release and the texture becomes all wrong.
You can experiment with the proportions of the balsamic and brown sugar depending on how sweet you want.
Use a non stick pan or a cast iron pan. Anything else, the halloumi may stick to the pan and not readily come out.
Take care that the halloumi pieces do not touch each other when cooking otherwise they will stick to each other!
Do not flip the pieces until one side is golden and slightly hardens.
Halloumi is high in protein and fats and pretty low in carbohydrates, which makes it suitable for those on a low carb or keto diet. However it is also high in sodium so even though you can occasionally enjoy it, don’t overdo it!
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