I first encountered halloumi chips (or halloumi fries as they are often called) at Maltby Street market. They were being sold at the Oli Babas stand (which has now moved to Camden market), which was billed as being ‘the original creators’, founded in 2014. I’m not sure exactly what they are claiming to have created, but halloumi has been heated and grilled for centuries and za’atar has been sprinkled over things in the same broad vicinity for centuries also.
Indeed, the key ingredients here are the halloumi (you can find out more about this best-when-fried cheese by clicking this link) and the za’atar (you can find out more about this spice mix by following this link).
The optional extras aren’t optional exactly, you definitely need some, but you don’t need all of them and you can use them in different combinations. For example, you can add mint to the yoghurt sauce, or you can snip over… or both. Here are some links to various yoghurt recipes on Saucy Dressings:
These cheese chips are good with a drink… or they can constitute a whole meal. If you fill a flatbread with shredded lettuce and a slurp of yoghurt sauce, you have a good lunch.
I got the idea (in the featured image at the top of this post) for adding beetroot powder to the yoghurt from Laura Washburn’s book, Fries. Washburn uses real beetroot, but I find the beetroot powder is very convenient, and, of course, it’s a pretty colour.
Za’atared halloumi chips
Serves – 2
- 250g/9 oz halloumi
- 90g/¾ cup flour
- 1 tbsp za’atar
- vegetable oil for frying
- lemon or lime wedges
- yoghurt dip – try: garlic and lime; lemon thyme; minty yoghurt; yoghurt tahini sauce; or mint and beetroot powder
- Shredded lettuce
- chopped mint
- pomegranate seeds
- pomegranate molasses
- Urfa pepper flakes
- Cut the halloumi into fat chips (just under an inch/2 cm) breadth and depth.
- Pour enough vegetable oil into a deep frying pan to be able to shallow fry, and bring it to smoke point.
- Meanwhile mix the flour with the za’atar (reserving a little for sprinkling later) in a shallow bowl. Coat the halloumi chips in the flour-za’atar mix, and fry them in batches, removing them when golden on all sides with a slotted spoon and putting them on a warmed platter lined with kitchen paper.
- Serve with the dip, and any of the other suggested extras.