Fakeaway done right: saag halloumi
Step away from the takeaway menu! This healthy, tasty home quirk on a delivery classic hits all the right notes of quick, easy, delicious. Oh, and it's chock-a-block with greens. Win!
Healthy, full of greens, but with that appealingly salty hit — this weeknight recipe (courtesy of one of our favourite food Instagrams) is made from store cupboard ingredients and comes together quickly. In short: it’s a dream.
Serves 2-3 as a main or 4 as a side.
- 225g (one packet) halloumi
- 1 thumb (about 20g) fresh ginger, diced
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (ground will work if it’s all you have, but the pop of texture is nice here. Same for coriander seeds.)
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 500g frozen chopped spinach
- 1/2 a tin coconut milk (well-stirred)
For a vegan swap, see note at the end.
Slice your halloumi cheese into bite-sized cubes. Heat a generous (no sissy-ing!) glug of oil in a deep frying pan for which you have a lid, and then fry the cheese; you will probably need to do it in two batches depending on size of pan, and beware of spitting. Once brown on one side, flip the cubes with a thin metal spatula until brown on the opposite. (Don’t bother with the remaining two sides; life’s too short). Remove from oil onto kitchen towel.
Into this same pan, still on a moderate to high heat, add the sliced onions and diced ginger and fry, stirring every now and then, for about five minutes — until the onion has lost its bite and taken on a bit of colour, but don’t worry about softening it. Add the salt.
Lower the heat. Push the onions and ginger to one side of the pan and sprinkle in the spices, and allow them to toast for about thirty seconds, or until they smell fragrant. Don’t overdo it; they’ll burn quickly. Once toasty, mix the spices in with the onions, add a splash of water if the pan looks dry, and add the 500g chopped frozen spinach. Cover your pan with the lid, and leave it for 10 minutes while the spinach thaws. (This is a great time to start warming up any flatbreads, dig out the mango chutney, etc).
Now, stir the defrosted spinach through the onions and spices, checking that everything’s truly hot. Turn up the heat to evaporate any unwanted liquid while you open the tin of coconut milk, stirring it well if it has separated. Add the half tin of coconut milk to the pan, and stir it through. At this point the saag halloumi should be thick and a bit creamy, loose but not watery. Allow more liquid to evaporate if necessary.
Add the fried halloumi and serve with mango chutney and warm flatbreads and / or rice.
For a vegan swap: Use extra-firm tofu, pressed for best results. Fry in the same way as the halloumi, but season generously with salt once it comes out of the pan.