Halloumi cheese has become a hit in Czech kitchens in the last few years!
Read why it is so popular, what it tastes like and what possible ways you can prepare it so that you can enjoy it in perhaps a million ways!
Try it raw, baked, grilled or fried. The options are endless, just take your pick!
What is halloumi?
It is a cheese traditionally made from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk (and sometimes also from cow’s milk) in the east of the island of Cyprus.
Its texture is similar to mozzarella. It is white, semi-hard, unripe, preserved in brine, and its taste is sour and salty.
When you decide to consume it, without any heat treatment, you will feel its saltiness, together with its rubbery texture. Once you bake it in a pan or on the grill, it becomes beautifully crispy on the outside and gently melts on the inside.
How is halloumi cheese made?
Rennet is added to heated sheep’s, cow’s or goat’s milk to curdle it. The resulting curd is cut, the whey is strained and the curd is allowed to solidify and pressed into molds.
The cheese is then poached and then salted (and traditionally sprinkled with mint). It can be consumed immediately, within three days at most, otherwise it is stored in a brine that preserves it for up to several months.
How does halloumi taste?
When the cheese is made in the traditional way using goat and sheep milk, it has a slightly pungent and salty taste with a rubbery texture.
- Rich in protein – contains 7 grams of protein per 30 g of cheese
- Supports bone health – it is high in calcium, a micronutrient that is important for healthy bones
- Diabetes prevention – like other dairy products, it can protect against type 2 diabetes
- This cheese is high in sodium, which is not ideal for people with high blood pressure who should watch their salt intake
- It’s also high in saturated fat, a type of fat that can contribute to raising bad cholesterol when eaten in large amounts
Nutritional values of halloumi (per 28 g)
|Calorie||Carbohydrates||Sugars||Fats||Saturated fatty acids||Proteins||Fiber||Salt|
|90 calories||1 g||1 g||7 g||4 g||7 g||0 g||350 mg|
How to prepare halloumi cheese?
- Use heat treatment – this cheese has a high melting point. The heat turns its outer layer golden brown and crispy, while the inside transforms into a grilled cheese with a gooey texture. Fry it in a pan with a little olive oil, or grill it directly on the grill.
- Use oil – as with frying fish, meat or vegetables, halloumi gets a crispy texture when it is fried in a pan (or on the grill) with a little fat.
- Add fruit – the subtle, smoky, creamy sweetness of grilled cheese goes naturally with fruit like peaches, pears or even watermelon.
- Store it in the cold – unused slices of cheese will keep in an airtight container in the fridge with salted water for one to two weeks.
How to fry halloumi?
Cut the cheese into thin slices and quickly fry them in a non-stick pan with a drop of oil. Cheese prepared in this way is best suited to any salad.
How to bake halloumi in the oven?
Put the cheese slices in the oven and drizzle them with olive oil and season with herbs or spices. Bake them for about 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees.
How to grill halloumi?
Brush the outside with oil and place on the grill over direct heat. You can even season the cheese before grilling to give it a kick!
|Add it to salads instead of mozzarella in a caprese salad and use it straight away in this delicious watermelon and prosciutto salad|
|Whether raw, fried or grilled, in Cyprus it is often served with cold beer, wine or Cyprus tequila|
|When grilled or fried, it’s delicious drizzled with honey or grape molasses to add a sweet element. Or it’s sprinkled with dried oregano and drizzled with lemon for acidity|
|Halloumi can be enjoyed in a thousand ways, such as omelets, quiches and frittatas, tacos, curries, burgers or these delicious tortillas|
|In Cyprus during the summer months it is served raw for breakfast with watermelon or added raw to a cucumber and tomato sandwich|
|As a grated cheese, it goes perfectly with pasta with chicken and lemon juice. Or substitute it for chicken in these pasta carbonara recipes|
|As fried, it is an ideal addition to a hearty brunch with eggs, cucumber, tomatoes and pork sausages|
|Use it in other dishes such as skewers, salads, sandwiches, curries, panini and pizza. Try other hearty recipes with halloumi cheese , according to our recipe|
What to replace halloumi with?
- Mozzarella is made from cow’s milk, but does not offer pungent undertones. With its soft, flexible texture, it is slightly similar to Cypriot cheese.
- Paneer is slightly firmer and pliable, but can be used in the same recipes.
- Panela is a semi-soft white cheese made from cow’s milk, it is firm, flexible and does not melt when heated.
- Other alternatives are Greek cheeses such as feta, graviera, kefalograviera and kasseri.
If left unopened, the cheese will last in the refrigerator for up to one year.
After opening, store it in the refrigerator, in brine, in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Can it freeze?
Halloumi can also be wrapped in plastic or foil and frozen for up to three months without affecting its texture when cooked. This way it lasts up to 6 months.
Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before defrosting.