Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Halloumi-gate (part 2)

I went on holiday for 10 days and came back to a new menu on the MC street food bus. It was the 'roadshow' menu. As a result of limited prep time and storage, and with all round challenging logistics, we had somehow ended up with portobello mushrooms and halloumi cheese.  For those of you that remember halloumi-gate part 1, it should come as no surprise that I wasn't overjoyed! So after much discussion I was given the go ahead to turn it into something that could be a burger. I came up with this...

We didn't know what to call it, as it was a hybrid of the simple (and lazy chef) griddled portobello halloumi. The idea came from one of the few restaurants that do something more with halloumi than stick it on a griddle. Halloumi menander is a much loved Mughli menu item, served with a tangy tamarind dip.  So I took the idea of a menander batter, giving it a little twist with the fabulous ajowan seed (all hail the ajowan seed!), wedged the halloumi inside the mushroom, dunked it in the batter and fryed it.

We served it with all the goodies going on in the smoky chicken burger.  This veggie burger flew out and morphed into a gluten free special with no roll, which we thought made a lovely dish in itself.  Mat Follas reckons everything tastes better with bacon, so we had a third special of halloumi, mushroom & bacon going out by the end of the week. 

So here's the recipe.

4 portobello mushrooms, remove stalk, dust off any soil/residues
1 pkt of halloumi cheese, cut into 60mm slices
3 cups of gram flour
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp ajowan seeds
2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder (add more chilli if you like it spicy, or perhaps fresh chopped)
3 tbsp paprika powder
salt to taste

Toast the seeds in a pan, once aroma is released add the powdered spices and toast for another 5 minutes.  Leave to cool. Mix gram flour with cold water to make a thick pancake like batter, then add spices and seasoning. Whisk well and taste batter to check seasoning.

Heat deep pan of oil or fryer to 180.  Fill mushroom with halloumi slices, then dip in batter.  Gently place in fryer, with halloumi side facing upwards. After 2-3 mins, gently dunk using tongs so that the batter seals the halloumi in place. Cook for a further 2-3 mins on each side.

Turn onto kitchen roll, halloumi side down to allow any excess oil to drain away.

We served our burger in a milk roll, with Tim Anderson's gochujang burger sauce, Mat Follas' smoky tomato sauce, homemade pickles and salad leaves.  To serve as a gluten free starter, we lay the salad leaves into the box, drizzled with burger sauce, added the spice battered mushroom halloumi burger (yeah crap name I know), then topped with smoky tomato sauce and some pickles.

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