|grilled halloumi tikka|
Halloumi tikka is essentially the famously squeaky cheese marinated in yogurt flavoured with Indian tandoori spices. Usually it would be made with paneer, a fresh Indian cheese. Using halloumi came out of a time when I had made the marinade but discovered I didn't have any paneer. I don't quite know what happened. Did I leave it behind in the supermarket? Or had the fridge eaten it again? (The fridge seems to swallow up a lot of things that I need whenever I want them. It is capricious like that!) I ran (well actually I ambled) across the road to the corner shop, where they had a few packets of halloumi. I was convinced the halloumi would work as well as paneer, and it did.
|tandoori yogurt marinades - one with beetroot powder, the other with ground turmeric|
Halloumi cheese has a high melting-point, which is why there is a fabulous moment when the cheese is crisp on the outside and just beginning to melt on the inside. Utterly heavenly to my mind.
|uncooked halloumi tikka in yogurt marinade with beetroot powder|
Serve piping hot while still crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. If you leave it to cool it will be a little tough.
Serves 3-4 as a starter
Skill level: Easy
1 halloumi cheese (about 250g), cut into 10mm thick slices
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
¾ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp blended curry powder (garam masala or your favourite mix)
½ tsp ground turmeric or beetroot powder
1 tsp tomato paste
juice of 1 lemon
lemons or limes, quartered, to serve (optional)
- Whizz the ginger and garlic together in a blender until a smooth paste. Add the yoghurt, spices and lemon juice. Blend to form a smooth marinade.
- Tip the marinade into an airtight container. Add the halloumi slices and carefully toss to ensure well-covered with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5.
- Line a baking tray with a non-stick sheet or baking parchment.
- Brush away any excess marinade from the halloumi slices. Lay the slices out on the baking tray, leaving a 2 centimetre space between them (as the halloumi will spread slightly while cooking).
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has lightly browned and crisped on top.
- Serve piping hot with a squeeze of extra lime or lemon juice (if serving).
- Serve with quarters of lemons or limes, for squeezing over the cheese.
- I don't add any salt to the marinade as I find the cheese is salty enough without adding more. You may think differently.