The first time I had ‘Vegetarian Fish and Chips’ I fell in love! I remember it well… a small pub in the middle of August and all the staff were dressed up for Christmas to take Christmas bookings! And they gave me the most exciting gift of a meal. I had not heard of it before but the halloumi, when you cut through it, couldn’t have been a more convincing fish! I was enchanted but didn’t come across it again for a long time until one winter’s day in a small pub in London last year. It had always struck me as something that would be difficult to make myself but I tried it at last and it couldn’t be easier! It’s a wonderful treat to have as a vegetarian and so yummy. Also if you have any batter left over, why not make some delicious beer batter pancakes for pudding simply by adding an egg and perhaps a little more beer so that the mixture is the consistency of single cream.
70g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
30g cornflour (optional – you can just add another 30g plain flour instead but the cornflour helps to thicken up the mixture a little and adds to the warm golden colour. A tsp of turmeric can also be used to contribute to the colour of the batter if you wish)
oil for frying (approx. 2 tbsp or enough to cover roughly the base of the pan)
- Whisk together the flours, beer and water in a large bowl with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside to rest whilst you slice your halloumi. The batter should be around the thickness of double cream.
- Cut your halloumi into thick slices (I usually cut about 8 from a 250g block). Tip out some flour onto your work surface and coat the halloumi in flour.
- Heat your oil in a frying pan. Once it is hot give your batter mixture a final whisk and take your first piece of halloumi, dip it in the batter so that it is fully coated and pop into the pan. Cook all your pieces of halloumi for a minute or two on each side until a light golden colour. Place on a piece of kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.
- Serve with chips (homemade or sweet potato chips!?) and peas (I mushed up some peas with a potato masher and some salt, pepper and butter). For a vegan substitute why not try it with tofu? Enjoy!!