Halloumi originated from Cyprus. It was and is traditionally made from Sheep milk and recipes to date go back as far as 5 BC, so a very old style of cheese. I think it is an interesting cheese to make because it has so much history attached. Halloumi may appear to be “just a delicious cheese” to some. To Cypriots, it is a vital part of their diet and a source of national pride. Halloumi originated in Cyprus, and Cypriots still make and enjoy it there today. The name halloumi comes from the Greek word “almi” which means salty water.
At Awassi Cheesery we don’t leave our halloumi in the brine for longer than 24 hours. We do this because we want to be able to create some interesting flavours with our cheese and have the option to serve as a dessert. Halloumi is a semi-hard unripened cheese. It has a high melting point, so can be easily fried or grilled. Other names include ‘Squeaky Cheese’ – a good halloumi should squeak when you bit into it. When we make our Halloumi we do the squeak test – if you want to know more about how, where and why of the cheeses we make at Awassi, you can book in for our full-day ‘cheese Experience’.
Now back to some interesting ways to cook with Halloumi.
A fresh and simple way to cook Halloumi is to fry on an olive greased pan, cook on both sides and serve hot. The BBQ is also a great way to showcase a modern version of cooking Halloumi.
We have created a simple recipe to serve Halloumi as a sweet cheese, a great breakfast alternative to French toast or a simple dessert.
Mix a ¼ cup of castor sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon and pour onto a plate. Roll your cut halloumi into the sugar and cinnamon mix and make sure the cheese is coated all over. You can cut any shape you like – we do a love heart for Valentines Day and Naughts and Crosses just for fun, it’s ok to play with your food sometimes. Once rolled in the sugar/cinnamon mix place in a moderate pan that has been sprayed with olive oil and is at temperature. Because the sugar will melt quickly you will need to watch and turn to cook the other side before burning the cheese. Once both sides are cooked you will notice that the sugar has caramelized and it will start to smell like a cinnamon doughnut.
Place a dollop of sweet lemon labneh on top, your taste buds will help you remember this halloumi recipe forever.