Try these baked crispy panko coated halloumi fries, drizzled with a sweet and spicy bang bang sauce. Finished with sesame and served in nori.
These halloumi fries have to be one of the top fusion appetisers I think I’ve ever done. The crispy and slightly spiced halloumi is everything it ought to be, and it’s baked!
I serve it with a sweet and spicy bang bang sauce, an abundance of sesame and spring onion, and nori sheets. The nori sheets mean you can eat these as a wrap – and they taste incredible.
I call these my ‘halloumi freaking fries’ purely because of how freaking awesome they are.
I don’t know what it is about crispy cheese that is so appealing and addictive. You name it, mozzarella sticks, fried goats cheese, crispy paneer, and now these. They’re all amazing.
I love my potato fries as it is, so it only seemed fitting to combine the concept and create these halloumi fries. Halloumi has always been one of my favourite cheeses, it’s perfect in salads, or in burgers.
It grills up beautifully on the barbeque, and it just has this amazing salty squeakiness that makes it so more-ish.
So what is halloumi?
Halloumi is a firm, white Cypriot cheese that’s usually made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. Sometimes you may also see it made from cow’s milk.
Due to its high melting point, it holds shape during cooking which allows it to be a perfect choice for grilling – similar to paneer.
Flavour wise it’s salty, and has a lovely freshness but overall it’s quite neutral. You can often buy halloumi which has been coated in mint leaves. It is usually available in the cheese/dairy section of most supermarkets.
What is bang bang sauce?
I’m not entirely sure where this sauce originated from, but let me tell you… it’s divine. It’s a creamy sauce which is spicy and sweet, and also has some acidity.
It works so well with a variety of foods and there’s often a few variations found between bang bang sauces. From the name itself it doesn’t give anything away with regards to its flavour, but it’s a sauce that’s very well balanced.
It has richness from the mayonnaise which compliments the spice from the sriracha or gochujang, plus the lime adds some necessary acidity to cut through this richness.
Finally to balance everything out, there’s a little touch of sweetness too.
It’s such a simple sauce and hugely underrated.
The sauce itself tends to be based on 4 main ingredients:
- Mayonnaise – I’ve used a vegan mayo but either will work fine. This provides the creaminess and the body to the sauce
- Sriracha/gochujang/or any chilli sauce of choice – for the heat and colour
- Lime juice – for acidity
- Sugar/syrup/honey – for sweetness, and syrup or honey will help to provide a shine to the sauce
What you’ll need for these Halloumi Fries
- Plain flour
- Mayonnaise/oil – preferably mayonnaise as it provides a little extra flavour
- Cold water
- Panko bread crumbs – these are preferable over traditional bread crumbs. They are more like bread ‘flakes’ and provide a lighter coating – they also absorb less oil during cooking. They can be found in most large supermarkets in the ‘World Food’ aisle, otherwise your local East Asian supermarket, or purchase online
- 5 spice – a Chinese spice mix which contains ground star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and pepper (usually either white pepper or Szechuan pepper). This can be found in most supermarkets in the spices aisle, or in East Asian supermarkets
- White pepper – helps to season and is more mild than black pepper
- Toasted black sesame – for garnishing
- Spring onions – for garnishing
- Nori – this is toasted seaweed. Use these to serve the fries as wraps. Optional but advised. Nori can be purchased from most large supermarkets in the ‘World Food’ aisle, otherwise your local East Asian supermarket, or purchase online
How to make Halloumi Fries
1) Cut the halloumi into even rectangles/fries. Use a sharp knife to prevent the halloumi from breaking
2) Dunk the halloumi fries into the batter
3) Then dredge the battered halloumi in the seasoned panko breadcrumbs like 4)
5) Place the halloumi fries onto an oiled tray and brush each piece with oil too. Bake until golden and crispy
Can I deep fry or air fry these halloumi fries?
Absolutely, they work perfectly well baked but you can definitely deep fry or air fry these if you wish. I’ve baked them as it’s less indulgent that way. Plus baking these does not compromise on flavour or texture.
Deep frying will be useful for these if you’re making a large amount at once and need a shorter cooking time.
If air frying, these will take roughly 12-15 minutes at 185’C turning the fries over every 3-4 minutes to allow even cooking.
Can I make these vegan?
This is a tricky one as the fries themselves are made form halloumi, which is a dairy product and hence not suitable for vegans. I know that vegan halloumi alternatives do exist, but I haven’t tried them myself so I wouldn’t be able to definitively state that they work well here.
However you could substitute the halloumi entirely for sticks of extra firm tofu. Make sure the tofu has been firmly pressed out to remove as much water as possible, then seasoned the tofu with salt all over. Bake these as normal as per my recipe below.
Halloumi Freaking Fries
- 225 g halloumi sliced into thin fries, around 1cm each
- 40 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise/0.5tbsp oil
- ~60ml cold water
- 50 g panko bread crumbs
- 0.5 tsp 5 spice
- 0.25 tsp caster sugar
- 0.25 tsp white pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Flavourless oil to grease your oven tray (sunflower/vegetable/rapeseed etc)
Bang bang sauce:
- 2 tbsp vegan mayo
- 0.5 tbsp lime juice
- 0.5 tbsp sriracha
- 0.5 tbsp honey/vegan alternative
- Toasted sesame
- Spring onions
- Preheat oven to 200’C/220’C conventional
- Mix your flour, mayo, and water in one bowl and whisk until lump free
- In a separate bowl mix your panko, 5 spice, sugar, white pepper, and salt. Caster sugar is more finely ground and distributes more evenly within the coating
- Dip each halloumi piece into the flour mix, do this carefully to avoid any breakages, then dip into your breadcrumbs and coat evenly
- Place on an oiled oven tray, and bake for 20 minutes, turning the fries over half way. If there’s any areas not turning golden, brush them lightly with your oil of choice
- Mix up your bang bang sauce ingredients, this will be shiny and vibrant!
- Layer up your fries, drizzle on your sauce, top with some toasted sesame, spring onions, and go grab that nori!