• Polenta is a humble, yet oh-so-versatile cornmeal dish that can take on many forms – cream it, set it, deep-fry it or bake with it. Here, we used it to create a delicious crunchy crust for haloumi cheese.

    Crunchy haloumi with chilli-tomato dipping sauce

    By Nomvuselelo Mncube Serves: 4
    Total Time: 40 mins



    • 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
    • 5ml (1 tsp) harissa paste
    • 5ml (1 tsp) sugar
    • 1,25ml (. tsp) ground cumin
    • 0,625ml (⅛ tsp) caraway seeds
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 chilli, finely chopped
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) Mrs H.S. Ball’s Original Chutney

    • 2 extra-large eggs, whisked
    • 100g instant polenta
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) sesame seeds
    • 10ml (2 tsp) dried oregano
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 2 x 220g packets haloumi
    • 100g cake flour
    • canola oil, to deep-fry
    • 1 red chilli sliced in rounds, to garnish
    • handful coriander leaves, to garnish



    For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until golden, about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, harissa paste, sugar, spices, seasoning and chopped chilli. Stir until combined and simmer, covered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chutney, stirring continuously until combined.


    For the haloumi, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Combine the polenta, sesame seeds, oregano, and salt and pepper in a separate medium bowl. Set aside until needed.


    Cut the haloumi into slices, about 1cm in thickness, to get 10 strips in total. Place the flour in a shallow dish, add the haloumi and toss the haloumi in the flour until well coated.


    Dip a floured haloumi slice into the whisked egg, then into the polenta mixture. Transfer the crumbed slice to a plate. Repeat these steps with the remaining slices, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.


    In a deep fat fryer or large, deep pot, heat the oil to 180˚C. Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil if using a pot.


    Deep-fry the haloumi in small batches of two at a time, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the deep fryer or pot and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.


    Garnish the haloumi slices with chilli rounds and coriander, and serve with the dipping sauce.

    ALSO SEE: Haloumi & Swiss chard gozleme with honey-roasted grapes

    Haloumi & Swiss chard gozleme with honey-roasted grapes

    Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

    Photograph by Dylan Swart

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com