If you were hoping for a light, healthy recipe today, move along (in fact, come back next time). If, on the other hand, you wanted a meal that’s almost entirely homemade, you’ve come to the right place! Beer battered halloumi with homemade pickled onions and homemade tartar sauce.
I’m not sure which part I’m more impressed with, but I know I’m super impressed with myself. Just in general.
Since there are kind of three recipes in one here, brace yourself for an epic post. Feel free to skip to the end for the recipes if that’s all your here for!
Let’s start with the beer battered halloumi. I know it’s seriously indulgent, but battered halloumi has become a fairly common find in UK fish and chip shops over the past couple of years – and as a vegetarian who used to have to plump for a veggie burger every. single. time. my family had fish and chips, it’s really nice to have another option! It makes a great alternative to battered fish – we veggies may not want the fish, but I’ve never been happy about missing out on that crispy batter.
Beer batter is really easy to make – I’ve shown you it once or twice before, and it’s no different this time. Just mix a fizzy beer with some flour and seasoning, and you’re good to go. Dip your halloumi, and get your fry on.
The halloumi gets nice and soft and gooey in the middle (it’s best if you eat it soon after frying, as it can go a bit tough and chewy if you let it sit out for too long), and the batter is perfectly crispy. It feels so wrong, but tastes oh-so-right.
Next up, the homemade pickled onions. That’s right – homemade. Pickling is totally not the sort of thing I usually do – it sounds like far too much effort. But, it turns out you don’t actually need to leave things sat in the pantry for months on end in order to pickle them! These homemade pickled onions only take a few hours to make (and 99% of that is hands-off time, you’ll be glad to know), and they taste just as good as the kind that take much longer.
You’ll need some of those tiny little bitesized onions – the only time I have ever thought an onion was cute. After you’ve boiled them up for literally two or three minutes (don’t overcook them or they’ll be too soft – you still want that nice crunch!), you just throw them in a jar with some Sarson’s pickling malt vinegar, a touch of sugar and salt, and some peppercorns, and you’re done. The pickling vinegar already contains some spices that give your homemade pickled onions plenty of flavour. They’ll be ready to eat a few hours later.
And finally, the homemade tartar sauce. I’ve actually shown you this recipe before, but this time I threw the onions and gherkins in a food processor instead of chopping them by hand – hey, I’d already made homemade pickled onions and battered some halloumi, I was feeling lazy, okay? I actually think it ended up even tastier this way – it makes a thinner and slightly smoother sauce though, so feel free to chop your veggies by hand if you like a chunkier sauce. I also skipped the capers this time, because I didn’t have any on hand, and I wasn’t about to go to the shops just for capers (<– told you, lazy).
Serve your beer battered halloumi with homemade chunky chips (none of this skinny fries nonsense), preferably wrapped in newspaper for the ultimate British street food experience. Don’t forget an extra splash of Sarson’s malt vinegar and a good pinch of salt.
And there you have it. A proper British feast.
Beer battered halloumi
- 50 g plain flour (~ 1/4 cup)
- 75 ml beer (~ 1/3 cup)
- Black pepper
- Oil for frying
- 225 g halloumi cheese (8 x 1cm slices)
- Add the flour and beer to a large bowl, and season generously. Whisk until smooth.
- Heat a couple of centimetres of oil in a deep pan. When it’s at the point that it sizzles when you drip a tiny amount of batter into the oil, it’s ready to use.
- Dip the halloumi slices into the beer batter until thoroughly coated, and carefully drop each piece into the oil. Cook for a few minutes each side, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper for a minute or two to drain off any excess oil, then serve, with more salt and pepper if desired.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.
Homemade pickled onions
- 300 g bitesized onions or shallots (~ 20 onions)
- 150 ml Sarson’s pickling malt vinegar (~ 2/3 cup) - plus more if needed
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
- Top and tail the onions, then peel them whole. Blanch them in a pan of boiling water for about 3 minutes, unit they are just beginning to soften slightly, then drain.
- In a separate small pan, add the pickling vinegar, caster sugar and salt. Heat very gently for a minute or two, just until the sugar has dissolved - don’t allow the mixture to become very hot.
- Add the onions to a clean jar, and pour over the vinegar. Add the peppercorns, and if necessary, add more vinegar until the onions are completely covered. Store in the fridge. The pickled onions will be ready to eat a few hours later.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is based on a serving of 4 small pickled onions.
Homemade tartar sauce
- 1/2 large onion
- 3 large pickled gherkins
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise, heaped
- Black pepper
- Add the onion and gherkins to a food processor, and process until they have reached your desired consistency. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add the mayonnaise and plenty of seasoning. Mix well, and store in the fridge.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is based on around a quarter of the batch.