I love a bit of fusion cooking, and this is fusion at its best. I first ate this at my beautiful friend Ani’s house, and it was so delicious I had to recreate it. A simple curry, minus traditional paneer – because I don’t always have paneer in the fridge at home and many supermarkets only sell halloumi. (The need to improvise is how the best recipes are often created!). The bonus here is the spicy coconutty sambal, which gets sprinkled on top at the end. This one’s for my girl Ani.
To make the curry, put a large non-stick saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the cubes of cheese and fry them, making sure to toss them around so they get a good browning all over. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
Spoon out the cheese and set aside on a plate. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, then add the garlic and let it brown for a few minutes.
Add the onions, red peppers and salt and cook until they are soft – this will take about 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin seeds, lemon zest and juice. Stir and cook for a few minutes, then pour in the water and cook for 10 minutes.
Take off the heat and use a stick blender to purée the mixture to a smooth paste.
Put the pan back on the heat and add the fried halloumi. Heat the cheese through and add the chopped coriander.
To make the sambal, put the coconut, garlic, lime juice and zest and coriander into a food processor and blitz until the mixture is an even texture.
Serve the curry with hot basmati rice, and sprinkle generously with the coconut sambal.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
For the curry
4 tbsp olive oil
2 x 250g blocks of halloumi cheese, cut into
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 red onions, diced 2 red peppers, diced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp cumin seeds
1 lemon, zest and juice
a large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
cooked basmati rice, to serve
For the sambal
150g desiccated coconut
1 clove of garlic
1 lime, zest and juice
a large handful of fresh coriander
to serve basmati rice