This lentil and halloumi curry is really straightforward to make, and absolutely full of flavour – halloumi curry is a revelation!
Have you ever tried halloumi in a curry? Turns out, it’s flipping amazing. I usually use halloumi in Mediterranean-style dishes (it is a Cypriot cheese, after all), but it works seriously well in this easy lentil and halloumi curry. If you think paneer in a curry is good… halloumi is even better.
What is halloumi?
If you’re a remotely regular reader of the blog, you’ll know all about halloumi, since I use it all the time. But just in case you’re reading this thinking ‘what on earth is this halloumi thing?’, I’ll tell you.
Halloumi is a firm cheese from Cyprus. It’s salty and creamy, and basically just insanely delicious.
Unlike most other cheeses, halloumi holds its shape as it cooks, so you can grill or fry it without it melting away to nothing. When it’s cooked, it just becomes slightly squidgy and gooey (and you can crisp it up beautifully on the edges as well!) – it’s an irresistible texture.
This makes it perfect for things like curries! You can fry it up along with your vegetables and it will stay intact, in little pieces that are beautiful to bite into.
To make this easy lentil and halloumi curry, start by frying up some vegetables. I used an onion, some courgette (zucchini), and some mushrooms. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge – curry is such a great fridge-clearer.
Then, add the diced halloumi. The cheese will release some liquid as it’s heated, so keep stirring until that’s cooked off.
Ideally, you want to get a little bit of colour on your halloumi and veggies – just a nice touch of caramelisation. It will make your curry extra tasty.
Next, add some lentils and a tin of tomatoes. I used brown lentils, which worked really nicely, but they do take half an hour or so to cook fully (don’t worry, it’s almost entirely hands off!).
If you want this lentil curry to be even quicker to make, you could use red lentils instead – they cook more quickly than brown, although they do end up with a different texture (they cook down a lot softer and mushier), so it depends what you want the end result to be like.
You’ll also want to add a few spices to give your curry that all-important flavour. I used garam masala, which is already a blend of several different spices, so it’s great for non-experts like me who want somebody else to do most of the work.
I also added a bit more cumin (because why not?), and some smoked paprika because I’m obsessed with it.
You could really spice this vegetarian curry however you like – feel free to change up the spices if you have a favourite blend!
Just put a lid on the pan, and let it all bubble away until the lentils are fully cooked and it’s as saucy as you want it.
How should I serve this lentil and halloumi curry?
I served my lentil and halloumi curry simply with brown rice. White rice would obviously be great too, as would some naan bread for dipping.
A scattering of fresh coriander (cilantro) on top is a must for any curry, in my opinion – the vibrant flavour of the herbs is great for freshening up any rich dish, as well as making it look much more attractive on the plate (why is it that all the tastiest dishes just look like big bowls of brown?!).
I also added a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of my halloumi curry – I can’t resist an extra bit of creaminess. Feel free to use raita instead, or anything similar!
And if you’re feeling really indulgent, a couple of onion bhajis or vegetable samosas on the side would be incredible.
How can I adapt this lentil and halloumi curry?
This halloumi curry was such a triumph that I’m already thinking of how I could alter it a little – not because it needs altering, just because I’ll take any excuse to make it again!
Here are a few ideas:
- Change the vegetables depending on what you have in your fridge – almost anything will work well in a curry. Peppers, aubergine (eggplant), carrots, cauliflower, peas… it’s all welcome.
- Switch the spices for a combination that feels more Tex-Mex, and serve your spicy halloumi with some sour cream and tortilla chips for dipping.
- If you can’t find halloumi, use paneer instead – it’s not got as much flavour, but will work just as well in the tasty sauce.
- Make sure your lentil and halloumi curry is extra thick, and serve it wrapped in Indian-style flatbreads (e.g. chapatis) with a dollop of yogurt and some salad.
Let me know if you have any other bright ideas!
Easy lentil and halloumi curry
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, sliced or diced
- 1/2 large courgette (zucchini), diced
- 6 medium mushrooms, diced
- 225 g (~ 8 oz / 1 small block) halloumi cheese, cut into bitesize pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 120 g (~ 2/3 cup) brown lentils
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
- 375 ml (~ 1 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Black pepper
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or saucepan. Add the onion, courgette and mushrooms, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until fairly soft. Add the diced halloumi and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes until any excess water has cooked off, and the cheese and vegetables are just starting to brown slightly.
- Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, along with all the spices. Mix well, then cover the pan with a lid and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and the curry has reached your desired consistency. For a saucier curry, or if the lentils need to cook a little longer, you can add a dash more water or stock. For a drier curry, remove the lid and cook for a few minutes to thicken.
- Serve warm with your choice of sides.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe, not including sides.