Since the transport is “free” these days, provided you have a Navigo card, I am able to roam all over Paris without paying extra. Just hop on and hop off metro, tram, RER and train. So last week, I took advantage of it and went to search the Lebanese epicerie. Up till Luanda, I have never eaten any Lebanese food, and even so, I can’t really say I know their food. Good thing is the guy manning the store was rather helpful and walked me through the various ingredients. It was funny because I could tell he hardly cooks and every time I asked how to prepare this and that, he would go off to ask someone else.
Still I came home with several ingredients including sumac and za’atar (which now after reading some articles online, I should be able to make it myself since I have sumac – do not repeat my mistake). So you can expect few Middle Eastern dishes in the coming few days & weeks. First up, a Cyprian cheese that’s popular in the Middle East region.
This is actually a variation of Nigel Slater’s Feta recipe. I kept it simple since neither H nor I have ever tasted Halloumi before. The cheese tastes like a harder & saltier version of Mozzarella, yet the spring onions, thyme, chilli and the cilantro elevate the simple cheese into quite a dish. I stuffed them in between toasted pita bread and some salad. Another meatless meal, without missing the meat.
SPICY PAN FRIED HALLOUMI
(adapted from Nigel Slater’s Chilli Feta)
3 Thai Bird Chilli, de-seed and chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
250 gr Halloumi, sliced into 8 equal pieces
a pinch or two of dried thyme
handful coriander, chopped, to garnish
2-3 pita bread, toasted, to serve
some salad, to serve
- In a non stick pan, heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil over low-medium heat. Add the chilli, spring onions & thyme, stirring from time to time.
- Drain the spicy onion mixture, set aside while leaving as much oil possible on the pan. Add more oil if needed, before adding the halloumi.
- Pan fried on both sides until the cheese turns golden brown.
- Transfer to serving plate, top with the spicy onion mixture and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with toasted pita bread & some salad.