A super quick (microwave!) version of Haloumi cheese, flavoured with herbs and chilli and ready to eat in under an hour.
Update: On November 3rd the second photo in this post was chosen as the runner up in the Australian Eat Drink Blog 3 photography competition.
Inspired by my recent adventures with 1 ingredient curd cheese making, I had decided to make haloumi. We love the salty flavour and squeaky texture of the cheese and often find ourselves munching on pan-fried slices of this Cypriot delicacy at snack-time.
My first attempt over the weekend became a slight failure in that I used lemon juice (from 2 lemons) to help create the curd and so my cheese ended up more like a herbed curd cheese than haloumi. It was delicious, but a far cry from the salty, squeaky haloumi we’ve come to love. Not about to give up, I scoured the interwebs for homemade haloumi (aren’t we blessed these days). Buried amongst others, I found this super simple plain haloumi recipe and went on improving it by adding dried herbs and chilli to the mix.
Simple and quick: you can make it in a microwave… (if you don’t have a microwave you can use this longer method). I got really excited because I hardly ever use the microwave for anything else than re-heating tea! And you don’t need any fancy equipment apart from a couple of things you probably already have or can easily find at your local chemist and supermarket: a sheet of gauze dressing and… junket tablets. An electronic human-use thermometer is optional.
Now back to junket tablets – I didn’t even know they existed but apparently they make great cheese! They can generally be found in the most obscure spot of the powdered custard aisle of your supermarket. As mentioned, the thermometer is not entirely necessary because you’ll only be heating the milk to just below body temperature (32°-35°C // 89.5°F – 95°F) and you may just as well use your clean fingers to test the milk’s temp. Oh, and it also turns out that to make haloumi you need unhomogenised milk – the one where the cream sits at the top. Perhaps that’s why my first attempt resulted in curd cheese instead.
Ok so maybe it sounds more complex than I first made you believe… but trust me, it takes less than an hour to make and once you have the gauze, the unhomogenised milk and junket, you are set. And once you pan-fry it, it tastes like nothing else in the world – perfect match for a watermelon salad. For a haloumi recipe using rennet and the slightly longer method, click here.
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