It’s hardly strange if you’ve never heard of halloumi. The cheese has long been a staple on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, but the United States has only lately begun to import genuine Halloumi.
Just as it has been done for years, it is produced from sheep and goat milk. To stretch and soften fresh curd in the manner of pasta filata, boiling whey is buried in it. The young cheese is then folded into wedges approximately the size of a small pocketbook and matured in baskets. Halloumi is a staple at every meal, including breakfast, lunch, and supper, on the always sunny island of Cyprus. For the French, going without wine is like going without the sun, while for Cypriots, going without halloumi would be a very gloomy day.
Halloumi: What is it?
If you’ve ever seen halloumi (also written halloumi) in your neighborhood deli or on the menu of your favorite Greek eatery, you might have been put off by the dish’s unusual name. After all, the name suggests cured meat rather than soft, pleasant cheese.
But cheese is precisely what it is! Even the name of the cheese, halloumi, is derived from the Cypriot-Turkish term hellim!
Cyprus is where halloumi cheese was first developed. The history of this smooth, gooey cheese goes back to the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages.
Halloumi cheese is traditionally prepared from sour sheep or goat milk rather than cow milk, which is why it is more well-liked in the Middle East and the Mediterranean than in the United States.
But as halloumi has grown in popularity recently, several people—including us—have begun to wonder what precisely this unusual, exotic cheese tastes like. Hopefully, at this point, you have your answers. Let’s now examine some possible pairings for halloumi.
Is the Flavor of Halloumi Different When it is Cooked or Fresh?
The flavor of halloumi varies depending on whether it is cooked or fresh. Halloumi is frequently consumed cooked due to its enhanced flavor and softer texture.
Fresh or uncooked halloumi cheese retains its distinctive flavor, a blend of feta and goat cheese. Although mild, it is still quite nice!
However, halloumi develops richer, more savory flavors when it is cooked. Halloumi is a fantastic choice, whether grilled, stovetop seared, or fried because it doesn’t melt when heated!
Halloumi cheese gets even softer, creamier, and somewhat squeakier when cooked. As was already noted, halloumi is a fantastic option for cooking since, unlike drier, messier cheeses like American cheese or mozzarella, it will maintain its form!
Additionally, many people have noticed that the smell of halloumi changes as it cooks. Despite having little in common with blue cheese or gorgonzola in terms of flavor, many people describe the aroma from cooking halloumi as similar to that of strong, pungent blue cheese. But after it’s taken off the heat, the smell of cooked halloumi returns to being gentle and hospitable.
How to Cook Halloumi Perfectly on a Grill?
We adore many aspects of halloumi (numbers 1, 2 and 3 are eating it, obviously).
We also appreciate how easily it can be grilled, sautéed, roasted, or barbecued. It also maintains shape and doesn’t leak over the grill or pan, and it works well as a meat substitute and requires little upkeep.
The key to making the delicious, striped, golden-brown halloumi we frequently see in recipes is frequently requested of us.
We’re pleased to inform you that it’s extremely simple. This is how:
- Halloumi should be thinly cut (about 0.5 cm), then dried with paper towels.
- Spray or gently coat a nonstick griddle pan or your BBQ with olive oil before heating it to medium-high heat.
- Halloumi strips should be browned and tender on both sides for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Assemble the components.
- Set the grill, whether indoors or outside, to medium heat.
- Halloumi cheese should be sliced into broad, 1/2-inch-thick slices, and both sides should be gently brushed with olive oil.
- Never over-grill the cheese; carefully set it on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side until it is lightly browned and softly crisped.
- Slices of fresh herbs like basil, mint, oregano, or lemon wedges may be used to garnish the cheese slices.
- Enjoy the dish with some grilled pita bread!
Things to keep in mind
- Halloumi cannot be undercooked; it is preferable to undercook the cheese rather than overcook it slightly.
- Be prepared to flip it over or turn off the heat since it will cook pretty rapidly once it is golden brown.
- Please try some delicious halloumi dishes on our website and let us know what you think.
Does Aged Halloumi have a Distinct Flavor?
Halloumi cheese undergoes flavor aging much like all other delectable cheeses. Halloumi will take on a fuller, heartier taste after being stored in a dry, cold environment (preventing unwelcome mold from growing on it)!
It will acquire extra appealing nutty, warming overtones in addition to its basic characteristics of tang and salt. Additionally, you will undoubtedly detect a minor change in cheese’s aroma when it ages. Your aged halloumi will taste somewhat more cheesy and fragrant!
Is Halloumi Cheese Vegan?
The topic at hand is now: Is halloumi cheese vegan? The simple response is “no.” Usually manufactured from goat or sheep milk, halloumi cheese can occasionally be produced with cow’s milk. When cooked, the semi-hard cheese has a somewhat rubbery texture and a unique salty flavor.
Even though halloumi isn’t vegan, you might be curious whether there are any meals where you can replace halloumi for beef. Unfortunately, we’ll talk more about this later, rennet is used to make cheese, and thus, vegetarians can also not eat it. Instead of halloumi, there are some other things you might want to think about.
What are the Health Benefits of Halloumi?
1. High in calcium for healthy bones
Like other dairy products, halloumi is a good source of calcium, essential for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. A serving’s (80g) considerable contribution to your daily calcium requirements is crucial at all stages of life.
2. A beneficial protein supply
Since muscle, skin, and blood are all made of this vital macronutrient, protein is crucial for optimum health. We also need enough protein in our diets for our cells and tissues to thrive, grow, and heal.
3. It Could lower the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes
It’s interesting to note that research shows frequent consumption of full-fat dairy products throughout adolescence may lower the chance of developing diabetes and insulin resistance later in life. Although the precise processes are yet unclear, they may be partially attributable to the high quantities of protein and fat, which slow down digestion and aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
4. Could keep you satisfied for longer
Cheese like halloumi, which is high in protein, fat, and flavor, keeps us fuller and more content for longer. Because halloumi has strong flavors, you don’t need to use much to create a flavorful dish.
5. A helpful meat substitute
Halloumi is a helpful nutritional addition due to its high protein content, particularly for individuals who follow a lacto-vegetarian diet. However, not all halloumi cheese is suitable for vegetarians; certain varieties are made using rennet obtained from animals. Halloumi’s texture and cooking qualities make it a simple substitute for meat in recipes like burgers and kebabs.
Is it Safe for Everyone to Eat Halloumi?
Halloumi should not be consumed by persons who are allergic to or sensitive to milk because it is a dairy product, and Vegans should also avoid it. Different varieties of halloumi don’t differ significantly in terms of nutrition. If you have lactose intolerance or allergies, sheep’s or goat’s halloumi may be simpler for you to digest. See your doctor or nutritionist if you have questions regarding food allergies or intolerances.
Since halloumi contains a lot of salt, it might not be the greatest choice if you’ve been told to manage your salt intake. While some stores sell “light halloumi” with less overall fat, the amount of saturated fat and salt may still be significant. It’s always worthwhile to read the nutrition facts on labels to make an educated decision.
What Foods Pair with Halloumi?
Salads, dipping sauces, spreads, sandwiches—you name it—halloumi goes well with anything! It tastes great on its own or when combined with other meals to add more salinity. Tomatoes, garlic, parsley, red peppers, zucchini, aubergine, and beetroot go well with halloumi.
Salads or roasted veggies like broccoli and cauliflower go great with halloumi. Additionally, it works nicely on sandwiches and wraps, giving the food some much-needed flavor and crunch. Halloumi is even tasty eaten by itself for some individuals! Although delectable, you may add herbs or spices, like black pepper to give it a little more flavor.
The cheese halloumi is excellent for grilling or frying. You may be inventive with your grilling method because it melts readily. Additionally, you can grate it into salads, use it in place of mozzarella or feta on pizza or toast, or even make your halloumi cheeseballs!
Goat and sheep milk is used to make the cheese halloumi. It is a firm white, semi-hard, unripened cheese that can be grilled, fried, or baked. Considering how common it is in many Mediterranean nations, you could have seen it. It is not only flavorful and adaptable but also high in calcium and low in calories. Halloumi is a cheese that you might want to choose if you want something with a little spicy kick.
Great-tasting halloumi cheese has an intriguing texture and is ideal for grilling. Grilled halloumi is an excellent choice for breakfast or any other meal. I would strongly advise against assessing the flavor and texture of halloumi before it is cooked since eating it raw doesn’t work for me. This post, I hope, has helped you understand what halloumi tastes like and how to prepare it.