Spice-crusted halloumi with fig and pistachio chutney

Spice-crusted halloumi with fig and pistachio chutney

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

This dried fig chutney is the perfect partner to salty, slightly squeaky Middle Eastern halloumi, though it would be wonderful with most other cheeses as well. I usually serve this as a light meal with herbed naan on the side. Panch phoran is a mixture of seeds; if you don’t have it, use equal quantities of cumin, nigella, mustard and fennel seeds.


Quantity Ingredient

For the chutney

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
1/2 small onion, chopped
8g root ginger, finely chopped, (peeled weight)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
100g dried figs, finely chopped
3 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
2 teaspoons caster sugar, or to taste
1/3 teaspoon garam masala
1/3 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
small fistful pistachios

For the halloumi

Quantity Ingredient
250g halloumi
1 tablespoon panch phoran, (see recipe introduction)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tablespoon lemon juice
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
4 handfuls salad leaves


  1. For the chutney, heat the oil in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the fennel seeds and chilli powder, cook for 20 seconds, then add the onion and sauté for two or three minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute or until the garlic is colouring a little. Add the figs, vinegar, sugar and remaining spices along with a splash of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook until the figs are soft and the whole thing has come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, seeing if you would like more sugar, vinegar or chilli powder. Blend half the chutney together until smooth, then return it to the pan and mix it with the chunky chutney. Stir in the pistachios and set aside.
  2. Cut the halloumi into long 1 cm-thick slices. Sprinkle a little of the panch phoran on one side. Heat a pan and add the oil. Add the halloumi spice side down and cook until golden on the edges, around one or two minutes. Flip over and cook this side in the same way.
  3. Whisk together the extra virgin oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad leaves gently in this dressing and serve with the cheese and some fig chutney on the side.
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