Crunchy haloumi with chilli-tomato dipping sauce

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.

Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

Photograph by Dylan Swart

Crunchy haloumi with chilli-tomato dipping sauce

By Nomvuselelo Mncube Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • CHILLI-TOMATO SAUCE

  • 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
  • HALOUMI CHEESE

  • 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

Instructions

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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.

7

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

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