How to Make Vegetarian Battered Fish and Chips Using Halloumi Cheese
The finished meal. Vegetarian fish, chips and mushy peas.
This vegetarian fish and chips uses Halloumi cheese, which is a traditional Greek Cypriot cheese made from a mixture of sheep and goats milk. Halloumi cheese has a very high melting point which makes it ideal for grilling or frying. It is a firm white cheese with a very unusual texture and taste. It is slightly salty as it is traditionally sold in brine. Halloumi is readily available in most large supermarkets, for this recipe it is best purchased in square packets as opposed to the half round ones that are also on the market.
Which potatoes are best for making chips?
In my experience, the very best type of potato to use when making chips are King Edwards, Maris Piper or Rooster.They stay firm on the outside but are nice and fluffy on the inside. Chips might not seem all that healthy but there are things that you can do to help save on fat content and cut down on some calories.
This dish is never going to be a diet food but you can improve it a little and help to keep guilty feelings at bay. If you cut your chips on the thick side they will absorb much less fat than skinny ones, so remember chunky chips are better for you. Chips also contain quite high levels of vitamin C, particularly if you leave the skins on. If you use olive oil mixed in equal amounts with rapeseed or sunflower oil to cook the chips in the oven they will not only taste great but they will be a much healthier option than if you deep fried them.
Cyprus, home of the very best halloumi cheese.
How to make vegetarian fish and chips using Halloumi cheese.
Just a quick word before anyone clicks off this hub in disgust, because fish isn't vegetarian, let me put your mind at rest, the 'fish' in this recipe is actually made of halloumi cheese! When I first became a vegetarian, many years ago, one of the meals I really missed was fish and chips. A bit of a cliché, I know, as I am British but it wasn't something I ate a lot of but I did miss it, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that suddenly I couldn't eat it. Fish and chips became my forbidden fruit. The more I knew I couldn't eat it, the more it became the only meal I really wanted to eat.
So imagine how pleased I was to find out that I could still enjoy a pretty good faux fish and chip meal whenever I wanted using good quality, Cypriot halloumi cheese. I quite often make this as a light lunch and have found that it is also a good thing to serve to meat eaters, as most people like cheese, whereas a lot of non vegetarians don't like tofu or quorn. I think it has a lot to do with the texture of meat substitutes, that isn't much of a problem with this dish. Halloumi has often been likened to the taste and texture of swordfish, it really is something you have to try, it is hard to describe to someone who hasn't given it a go.
Recipe for vegetarian fish and chips.
I-2 packets of Halloumi cheese
125 g plain flour
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp salt
Few drops of vegetable oil for the batter and enough to cover the ‘fish’ as it fries.
125 ml warm milk and water, about half and half
1tsp baking powder
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and then add the oil and a small amount of the half milk, half warm water mixture. Stir slowly bringing down more and more of the flour mixture until it is all combined. Beat well until it is very smooth, you can do this by hand or use an electric beater. For an extra crisp batter mixture add an extra spoonful of baking powder to the dry ingredients.
Wash the potatoes but do not peel. Cut them into wedges or chunky chip shapes and spread them out onto a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. Place the baking sheet onto the middle shelf of an oven pre heated to 180c, they will take approximately forty minutes to cook depending on how chunky you have made your wedges. Once the wedges are cooked and golden turn the oven down as low as it will go and leave the wedges to keep hot. They won’t burn but will stay hot and crispy until you are ready to serve them.
Cut the Halloumi into either thick finger shapes, wedges cut to resemble fish filets or simply cut into chunks. Pat the cheese shapes dry with kitchen towels or a clean tea towel and then dip them into the batter mixture making sure that they are completely coated.
Shallow frying the halloumi in a frying pan.
Heat the oil to 150c, this dish is best cooked in a deep fat fryer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a large heavy based saucepan instead, or even a shallow frying pan, but be very careful not to overfill it as the hot oil can easily bubble over with disastrous results.
Drop the battered cheese pieces into the hot oil one at a time, do not overload the pan as it’s better to cook the cheese in batches than risk it burning or sticking to the pan. Once cooked drain well onto absorbent kitchen paper. You can always put the cooked pieces onto a tray and keep them hot in the oven with the wedges or chips.
Serve with minted peas, mushy peas, or a nice tossed green salad, and garnish with fresh parsley, lemon wedges and a little tartar sauce. Delicious.