Grilled Halloum cheese

December 21, 2009  •  Category:


In the summer of 2006, I was in Beirut visiting my parents, when Lebanon was (once again) the victim of a bombing operation  that lasted 33 days and left the southern part of the country with a carpet of 3 million unexploded cluster bombs. As an American citizen, I was afforded the luxury of escaping this inferno and, about three weeks later, after waiting  twelve hours at dock, boarded an Egyptian cargo ship along with 600 other people.  The ship was bound for a US  base in Turkey; eighteen hours  later, we finally landed in Larnaca, Cyprus. Guess what we were welcomed with? Water bottles and a most delicious and warm  roll stuffed with halloum cheese! Halloum never tasted so good!

Halloum is probably amongst the top three most popular cheeses in Lebanon. Originally from Cyprus, it is now produced in Lebanon and offered in different flavors such as light,or mint, or stuffed with nigella seeds.  It is a white, semi-hard, sheep’s milk  (or goat) cheese, similar to mozzarella, but not bland, with a distinct flavor.I buy it at the middle-eastern grocer  in the US, but have found it  also at upscale supermarkets. It can be ordered online.

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My brothers and I used to eat it every day after school wrapped in pita bread with tomato slices, slices of cucumber and some olives.  When  fried in butter  it is irresistible! It captures the flavor of the butter and gets crispy from the outside and somewhat soft and chewy inside.  You can  serve it as an appetizer or as part of a mezze, sliced and fried or plain; you can add bits of it to a salad or put slices in buttered pita bread and toast it in the oven; the possibilities are endless.

Here is  my favorite way  to enjoy halloum.

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  1. Melt some butter (or oil) in a small skillet. Place the sliced cheese in the skillet.
  2. Fry the slices 3 minutes, then flip and fry the other side for a few minutes until golden on both sides.
  3. Remove some of the butter by placing the slices on a paper towel. Eat the cheese slices with tomato and pita bread or as is as a delicious snack, any time of the day.

NOTE: A book I was glancing at today at Virgin‘s La cuisine Libanaise d’hier et d’aujourd’hui mentioned serving halloum grilled with quince jam. Just a thought!


11 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Maninas says:

    oh I adore Halloumi too! I’ve got a great recipe for it: grilled halloumi with tomatoes, red chili, basil, lime juice and olive oil dressing

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipe says:

    Never had grilled Halloumi….they look so great!

  3. pity says:

    halloumi is one of favorite things in the world, i went to cyprus for a week and had halloumi everyday! thanks for posting it here, you have a wonderful site, cheers from london

  4. Amy says:

    I love halloumi cheese! I like to fry it lightly in a pan on the stove and eat it on salad, in pita or by itself. Luckily there are a lot of places to find Lebanese food in mid and southern Michigan!

  5. Rosa says:

    I love that cheese! A pity it costs so much here and is very difficult to find…



  6. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    I love grilled halloumi. I recently marinaded it in dried herbs with honey and oil…and skewered it with paprikas and red onions…Deliciouso and now you’ve told me what to do with the half block I have left. Thanks

  7. Leyla says:

    Hi Joumana,
    Yummmmmmmmmmmmm I am going to buy some now:) I used to eat it a lot when we were young …
    In Cyprus they call it Khalloumi, my uncle lived in Cyprus and used to bring halloum with him to all the family it is really delicious.
    Joumana is it possible to find
    1) the marzipan recipe, the one with pistachio in the center??
    2) the mafroukeh recipe?

  8. northshorewoman says:

    I have never heard of grilling halloum in butter–but I will give that a try as I love the taste and texture that grilled butter imparts. My husband has been keeping the grilling-in-butter way of serving halloum hidden from me, I think, because he hates fat! But, I’ll enjoy it with my son.

  9. Peter says:

    After Feta, Halloumi is my next favourite cheese…sublime when grilled. I too like the Pittas brand.

    Merry Christmas!

  10. Geetika says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes at Mediterranean restaurants – now I will try this at home 🙂

  11. Mathai says:

    I like the flavor of halloum too but some versions we get here are too salty and have to be washed. 🙂

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