Halloumi tikka kebab with cardamom risotto and tamarind syrup recipe

Posted on 15 April 2011

I know I’ve got a slight halloumi obsession, but this recipe is awesome … and I don’t use that word lightly. In fact, I never use that word, but never has it been a more fitting description. Okay, you get it – it’s really good.

It is yet another recipe adapted from Terre a Terre: The Vegetarian Cookbook and so far it’s the best … by far. What they have done is taken the best-selling Indian restaurant dish, chicken tikka, veggied it up and taken it to another level. The halloumi cubes are marinated for 24 hours in yoghurt and spices, which gives the cheese a much softer texture and an amazing flavour.

Remember the Halloumi is marinated for 24 hours so it is neccesary to start the night before.

Halloumi tikka kebabs, turmeric and cardamom risotto and tamarind syrup

Serves 3, vegetarian, adapted from Terre a Terre: The Vegetarian Cookbook

For the halloumi marinade

  • 1 pack 250 gr halloumi cheese
  • ?2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped mint
  • 60 ml plain/greek yoghurt
  • 25 ml water
  • 9 small cherry tomatoes

Rinse and dry the halloumi and cut it in half through where it’s folded, this way you get two rectangles which are about the same size. Cut each of these into six cubes/chunks so you have 12 cubes in total.  Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat, add all the ground spices and warm them through, stirring so as not to burn them. Put the toasted spices in a bowl with the yoghurt, garlic, mint and water and stir to combine well.  Add the halloumi cubes to the spicy yoghurt and stir to make sure every piece is coated well. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to marinate for about 24 hours.

Before serving, thread four halloumi cubes on to each skewer, adding a cherry tomato between each cube. Sear the kebabs on all four sides in a hot, dry pan, until coloured. This should only take about two minutes.

For the turmeric & cardamom stock

The original recipe makes the whole stock from scratch but I already had some of my homemade veg stock and added the spices to it.

  • 1 litre veg stock (see above)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • a handful of coriander stalks
  • 3 cardamom pods, bashed/bruised to open slightly
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, cracked
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric/saffron strands
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 curry leaves or bay leaves
  • water

Make this the day before if possible. Put the stock and the rest of the ingredients, except the water, in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t cool down too much, add some water if necessary. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse. When ready to serve, strain through a fine sieve, put in a sauce pan, increase to one litre with water and heat gently.

For the risotto

  • 1 litre turmeric & cardamom stock (see above)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp panch pooran (an Indian spice mix available from EastEnd Foods)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli oil or 1/4 tsp chilli powder added to the olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 100 gr, chopped onions (about 1/2)
  • 2oo gr brown shortgrain rice (you can use arborio which cooks quicker and will need less stock)
  • a knob of butter
  • 5o gr parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime juice plus wedges for garnish
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • a small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 50 gr flaked almonds, toasted in a dry pan

Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan, then lower the heat to a simmer. In a large pan on medium heat, fry the mustard seeds and panch pooran in the oils until they start to pop. Then add the onions, ginger and a big pinch of salt & black pepper. Cook gently until the onions have softened but not browned, about five minutes.  Turn up the heat slightly and add the rice , stirring so that it coats in the oil.

When the rice starts to appear translucent (approx one minute), turn down the heat to medium and add a ladleful of the hot stock, stirring as you add. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladle of stock and stir or swirl until that has been absorbed too. Keep adding ladles of stock in this manner until the rice is tender (min 20 minutes for the brown rice and 15 – 18 minutes for the arborio. If you run out of stock use hot water.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter & parmesan. Taste for seasoning, then cover with a lid and leave for  two minutes. Stir in the lime juice, coriander & mint and serve immediately with the halloumi skewers, lime wedges and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds. Serve with some chutney on the side or drizzle over some tamarind syrup.

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