Grilled haloumi

Haloumi and lemon

Greek: heart-warming traditional recipes, 128pp.
by the Australian Women’s Weekly Kitchens
ACP Books, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on page 32

No way I could resist this cookbook and the recipe on page 32.

I first tasted grilled haloumi (which I call saganaki) in 1976 at the Greek Club in Cairo, Egypt. These rectangles of salty firm cheese—grilled in hot oil and liberally doused in lemon juice—were one of the most amazing taste sensations I had ever experienced.

I had saganaki regularly during the years I lived in Cairo, and often make it at home in Australia. So on with the recipe.

Grilled haloumi, saganaki

Grilled haloumi

500g (1 pound) haloumi cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cut cheese into 1cm (1/2-inch) slices. Cook cheese on heated oiled flat plate until browned on both sides.

Grilling haloumi

Transfer cheese to serving plate; drizzle with juice. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley.

How it played out
Made half a batch for lunch for Poor John and me.

I sprayed a small cast iron frying pan with olive oil and cooked the rectangles of cheese on high for 2–3 minutes a side. My only problem was that I used a haloumi in brine and they tend to spread and melt a bit before they brown, so mine weren’t as beautiful or firm and they should have been.

Served on a bed of rocket (arugula) with lemon wedges on the side.

Update: Since posting this, several people have said they have found it hard or impossible to find haloumi cheese. Here are some options. The original saganaki is made with graviera, but that cheese is hard to find here. Other firm cheeses that work are kefalograviera, kefalotyri, kasseri, sheep-milk feta, and even firm tofu and paneer. Hope this helps.

Women's Weekly Greek cookbook

Appearance didn’t make one bit of difference to the taste. I love saganaki (grilled haloumi) in any form.

Be sure to use plenty of lemon and eat immediately because they go tough and rubbery if allowed to cool.

If you love cheese in general, you should check out the ropes of unusual cheese we saw in a big market in Bhutan.



About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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16 Responses to Grilled haloumi

  1. dishdessert says:

    Looks delicious…😊

  2. Antonia says:

    Love this Peggy! One of my favorites!

  3. Laurie says:

    I’ve read about haloumi but haven’t been able to locate it where I live even after checking for it on line. I was doing some shopping at Trader Joes, a small grocery store chain with interesting and different items at much better prices than in our regular food stores and found it there. Now, with your directions, I know what to do to try it for the first time. Perfect timing!

  4. I absolutely love halloumi. Your pic is amazing 🙂

  5. Sy S. says:

    I was able to find two variations of this Huloumi cheese. I like salty goat/sheep cheese and now adding some lemon and Arugala was the perfect match. I perhaps over fired the cheese so it came out dry.. but still good. Maybe next time I will try grilling it. nIce dish.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh wow, Sy, I’m so glad you tried this and had success (even if it came out a bit dry). Let me know when you try it again.

      • Sy S. says:

        The dry/fried Huloumi was resurrected, 20 seconds in the microwave. I made a salad and added pieces of Huloumi, chicken, soft cheese, sliced pickle… and topped with Blue Cheese dressing. Nice on a Hot and Humid (92 degree) NYC summer day.

      • leggypeggy says:

        Good to know the microwave provided a rescue.

  6. I love Haloumi and always prepare it this way. The caramelized outer part is my favorite. Love the combo of salty melted cheese and lemon juice. Thanks for sharing Peggy, 5* all the way. Made for CQ3 – Greece.

  7. LP! Thanks for posting this! Loved it. Got Haloumi straight from the greek market a few blocks from my house. Made as written in about 5 minutes. My only recommendation is to make sure you eat it right as it comes out of the pan. I waiting 5 minutes and the cheese had firmed up as it cooled. Taste was great and couldn’t be easier. Thanks for sharing LeggyP! Stacy G made for CQ 2016 Greece

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