I don’t know why I never thought to use halloumi in a curry before, seeing as it is virtually the same set of ingredients as paneer, but I guess I’m just so used to it being grilled or fried up in Mediterranean dishes that it never crossed my mind.
Using it in a curry changed the texture, as the liquid from the spinach more or less braised it so it became very soft and yielding. One happy discovery on an evening where I was tired, but still wanted something fresh and tasty for dinner.
Cooking oil ( I used walnut, but sunflower or peanut will do)
1 medium red onion, sliced into thin half moons (about 3-5mm thick)
1 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 x pack halloumi, cut into cubes
1/2 a large bag of baby spinach leaves (any tough stalks taken out)
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped finely
1/8th tsp salt (halloumi is salty, so don’t overdo the salt)
4-5 tbs water
Heat 1 tbs oil and 1 tbs butter in a large frying pan with deep sides. It will help to have a lid that fits it.
Heat the fats until the butter is melted, then add in the onions, and mix well so that all the onions are coated.
Stir and fry them for a few minutes, until they start to wilt down and soften.
Add in all the spices except the salt, and turn the heat up a little. Mix in very well, and cook for another few minutes. The spices will have soaked up any liquid, so add in 2 tbs of water, and mix.
As you cook it, the water will be absorbed, and the oils start to separate out again. Once that happens, add more water. Repeat this 2 or 3 times. This enriches the onions, making them softer and more dark in colour, and takes any flouriness out of the ground spices.
Add in the cubes of halloumi and mix them so that they get a coating of the onion/spice mixture.
Put the spinach leaves into the pan as a layer on top pf the halloumi, sprinkle with the salt, and cover.
After ten minutes, the leaves will have wilted down, and you’ll find that lots of water has come out. Do not panic.
Take the lid off, and at this stage, you could add in a few spoons of coconut milk powder if you wished, our just leave the lid off as it simmers to evaporate the water until it’s a thickened sauce.
Add in the finely chopped tomatoes, mix them in, and simmer gently until they are warmed through.
Serve over rice, or just as it is.
A little bit of lemon zest would have been a nice addition at the end, too.