Spiced Halloumi with Raita

(serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a lunch)
Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese popular Middle Eastern cuisine. It is quite distinctive cheese mainly due to the fact that it has a high melting point (as it is made with curd that has been heated during production), this high melting point means that it can be grilled or fried. Halloumi is one of those ‘meaty’ ingredients I often turn to when I am opting for meat free meals but I also love a simple lunch of halloumi with very fresh watermelon.
Like many good ingredients, halloumi is becoming more readily available. I have in the past picked it up in Superquinn so I rang them just to confirm and, thankfully, Superquinn still stock it in 250g packs at € 4.29 per pack. The recipe below is one of my favourites; I have to admit that I usually choose this as a lunch option as one slice of this cheese is rarely enough!

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 250g block of halloumi, sliced into 4 portions
4 poppadoms
For the spice paste:
4 tablespoons of mango chutney
2cm of peeled root ginger, grated
A pinch of ground turmeric
A pinch of paprika
A pinch of ground cumin
A pinch of ground coriander
A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Fresh mixed salad leaves
Raita (see recipe).

To make the paste, mix all the ingredients, add a little sea salt and set aside. Make the raita (see recipes) and sit in the fridge. Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and pre-heat your grill on full.
Pour the olive oil onto the warmed pan and fry the halloumi for approx. one minute on each side or until the cheese is golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat, top each slice of halloumi with the spice paste and place under the grill for two or three minutes. Sit a poppodom on each plate, add a handful of green leaves on top, drizzle with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice and spoon the raita on top of the leaves. Sit the halloumi on top and serve immediately.

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