Kids in the Halloumi


I first discovered halloumi cheese in South Africa last year. A trendy SA chain called News Cafe serves an avocado salad with fried halloumi, grilled brinjal and peppadews. Since I didn’t know what any of those things were, I had to try it. I ended up making several return trips for this amazing fried cheese.

For the record, brinjal is just eggplant, and peppadew is a spicy red pepper native to South Africa. But that’s beside the point, because halloumi was the real discovery. This super-salty, extra-firm-but-slimy goat/sheep’s milk cheese is actually from Cyprus, and if you try to say otherwise, the Halloumi Police will get you.

I’m not sure why it’s so prevalent in South Africa, but I have never noticed it stateside before, so when I spied it at the co-op last week, I jumped for it.

In taste, it’s probably most similar to a queso blanco, and like that Mexican cheese, it’s most exciting because it can be fried or grilled. A few recipes around the web recommend dipping it in flour, but I just tried it straight up and got this nice golden brown after frying thin slices for about a minute each side in extra virgin. The outside is a crisp golden brown and the inside is just a tad melty.

Since I didn’t have any peppadews lying around, I made my own version of the salad, with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and of course, pine nuts.

*This post is tagged both Greek and Middle Eastern for redundancy’s sake, not as an attempt to fuel any cheese-related territorial conflicts.

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  • gansie March 17, 2008  

    not that this has anything to do with your salad, but the last time you spoke about cheese i mentioned wanting to try burrata. well, i had it last night and it’s effing awesome.

  • Yvo March 17, 2008  

    ! You went to South Africa last year? How cool! How was it? Pics?
    PS I hope you weren’t offended by my post, I was just being snarky about the kind of weirdness of sharing food from the same plates as well, virtual strangers. I hadn’t even been to your blog (nor you to mine) before that! Seems a bit too close for the first time we meet =P I barely share with my friends!

  • BS March 17, 2008  

    aaah – not offended at all – for others, Yvo’s summary of our foodie dinner is here. I’ll have to get some SA pics up on the site.

  • gansie March 17, 2008  

    can we talk about something here – cucumbers. i don’t get the appeal. its just water taking the form of a green pole.

  • BS March 17, 2008  

    yeah but they taste great if you smother them in ketchup.

  • Brian March 17, 2008  

    completely off subject: I went to juniors thrice this weekend, and consumed a totally of 11 potato pancakes.

  • Brian March 17, 2008  

    🙁 wish i could edit…

  • DAD GANSIE March 18, 2008  

    cheese looks great did you make those designs or is how it cut, looks like it could be used for easter bunny ears.
    must have been a neat restaurant.
    ps. interesting highlighted articles

  • BS March 18, 2008  

    hey good point, DG, I shoudl have said this was an easter bunny design. Unfortunately, I can’t claim that much creativity – have to say it was just the way the cheese was.

  • DAD GANSIE March 19, 2008  

    ok, for our jewish holiday we gat to eat matzah, however there are other good foods, but no bunnies.

  • Yvo March 19, 2008  

    Stop eating the bunnies! And Gansie, for reals about the cucumbers? It’s one of the few veggies I can get my boyfriend to eat. And I’ve heard of some, um,… good healthy properties as for reasons to eat them. And… really? It tastes like freshness to me. Was that too… um, lame?

  • gansie March 20, 2008  

    hey yvo — cucumbers are slimy.

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