Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa

Easy Veggie Tacos worth Taco-ing about…
Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Bloggers

I’ve been pining hard for Florida the past couple of weeks. I don’t know whether it was the sudden blast of warm weather, or the whole Lockdown “who the hell knows when you’ll be able to leave your own home let alone the country” situation… but I’ve been aching for warm waves, sunset pizzas on the beach, thunder storms, outlet malls (remember shopping?)… even the mosquitos (I’d happily offer up my legs in an all you can eat offer in exchange for just ONE day in The Keys). But most of all I’ve been pining for the food. When I was out there last August, I ate really well – from fast food to fresh fish (the best in the world – especially down south), as well as some of the best Cali-Mex Fish Tacos I’ve ever tasted – loaded with cheese, aoli, fresh avocado, slaw and fruity salsa. Hot weather, poolside food at its finest – and the Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos that I chowed down on in the Florida Keys? Oh baby. I dream about them.

If you break those down to their basic ingredients then on the face of it they’re actually not that hard to replicate; tortillas – got ’em, cheese – arguably better here, avocados – always one in my fruit bowl, and salsa – well that’s easy. The trouble is that it’s near impossible to get your hands on Mahi Mahi (the meaty but soft fish otherwise known as Dorado) here in the UK – and even if you did, it’d never be of the “catch of the day” quality you’d get in a tropical climate because it’ll have been frozen in transit (and honestly, fresh cod just does not cut it as a substitute – I’ve tried).

Last week, the Fish Taco cravings got a little bit out of control and I started hunting around for something else to substitute in for the Blackened Mahi Mahi (Blackened is the term for the special blend of spices that season the fish before it’s cooked). I landed on Halloumi (I’ve always got a frozen stash for dinner times when I can’t decide what to cook and end up whipping up a quick Halloumi Hash) – and d’you know what? It wasn’t a bad sub at all – in fact, it was pretty damn good. It was soft and chewy – just like Mahi Mahi – and took on the flavour of the “Blackened” seasoning really well, crisping up around the edges in the pan. Along with a sweet and crunchy Mango and Red Pepper Salsa – as well as all the other added extras you’d expect in fresh Tacos – they were quite possibly the best Veggie Tacos I’ve ever tasted – and definitely the best I’ve ever made. Full of fresh ingredients and pretty easy to make, they’re perfect cold or hot – and are even better with a side of crispy Tequila Fries.

…Now I just need a swimming pool.

Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa - Easy Veggie Tacos - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Food Bloggers

Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa

makes 8
Ingredients
  • 2 Blocks of Halloumi (about 500g)
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 250g Fresh Mango
  • 1 ripe Avocado, roughly chopped
  • Pickled Red Cabbage
  • 150g strong cheddar, grated (I really like Red Dragon’s Vintage Cheddar)
  • 8 Soft Tortilla Wraps
  • Half a Lime
  • Handful of fresh Coriander, chopped

For the “Blackened” Seasoning/Marinade:

  • 1tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Onion Granules
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Chilli Paste
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil

To Serve:

  • Sour Cream
  • Hot Sauce (I love Cholula)
  • Fries (if you want to get fancy, brush them with lime juice and tequila before cooking 😉)
Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa - The Cardiff Cwtch - Lockdown Lunches
Method
  1. First, make the marinade by mixing together the smoked paprika, onion granules, garlic powder, chipotle chilli paste, oregano and olive oil in a bowl. While the Halloumi is still in its packet, pop it into a bowl and pour over boiling water from the kettle – allowing it to sit for twenty minutes. This will soften the Halloumi and improve the texture. Once ready, slice the Halloumi lengthways to make long “flakes” (like fish), then stir them into the marinade. Leave to rest for ten minutes.
  2. Next, prepare the Mango Salsa. Dice the red pepper and the mango into small chunks, and then combine in a bowl with some fresh coriander and the juice of half a lime.
  3. Prep your Taco Filling Station: warm your Tortilla Wraps, grate your cheddar, chop your avocado, and have your mango salsa, sour cream and pickled red cabbage close to hand.
  4. Pour the marinaded Halloumi into a shallow frying pan (along with any dregs), then fry on a medium heat for around 10 minutes. The Halloumi should go a little crispy around the edges, but maintain its soft and chewy texture.
  5. Next, assemble your Tacos! Generously fill each one with slices of Blackened Halloumi, mango salsa, avocado, sour cream, cheese and pickled cabbage.
  6. Serve with fries and plenty of hot sauce. 🙂
Blackened Halloumi Tacos with Mango Salsa - Veggie Mahi Mahi Tacos Dupe - The Cardiff Cwtch

Have a great week! 🌮🌮🌮

Halloumi Bread with Fig Jam

I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine.  I can’t make bread.  Or maybe that should actually be “couldn’t make bread”.  At least not without the help of a machine, anyway.  For a long time bread has been my nemesis; I’m always accidentally killing off the yeast or under-kneading the dough, and my bricks (no that’s not a typo) are never that lovely, light, chewy bread-like consistency.  I’d never EVER survive bread week on Bake Off.

Until now!  *Fist pump*  I tried making this Halloumi Loaf in the bread maker twice and it just did not work.  The first time the machine broke up all the lovely chunks of halloumi until they were were practically invisible, and the second time the loaf was just too dense.  So I tweaked the recipe a little and tried it by hand and whaddya know?  It not only worked, but my oven spat out the softest loaf I’ve ever made.  AND it’s got chunks of cheese inside it.  Banging.  Take that, technology!

DSC_0045

Halloumi Bread (served with Fig Jam)

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • 15g fresh yeast
  • 200ml soda water (neat trick to help the loaf rise!)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 250g halloumi, chopped into little cubes
  1. First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast.  Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl.  Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast.  Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, pour in the olive oil and then add the salt and flour.  Stir it together to create a very sticky dough.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  This stage is messy; there’s absolutely no avoiding it!  But keep stretching the dough and it’ll be worth it in the end! 😉
  3. Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
  4. While you’re waiting, make up the fig jam.  All you’ll need is three or four figs and some jam sugar.  It’s a 1:1 recipe, so take the flesh out of your figs and then weigh what you’ve got to see how much sugar you’ll need.  My three figs weighed 100g, so I used 100g of jam sugar and 100ml of water.  Boil it all on the hob and once it’s set pour it into a sterilized jar.
  5. Once the dough’s had it’s first proving, leave it in the bowl and pour in the cubes of halloumi.  Fold them into the dough until nicely combined, then turn it out onto a lined baking tray.  Shape it, then leave it to prove for another hour.
  6. After the second proving, set your oven to 200.  Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and then poke a few holes into it to help it rise while it’s in the oven.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with a little cream cheese, fig jam and a generous drizzle of honey. 🙂

Happy Monday!  Have a loaf-ly week everyone!  (…that didn’t work, did it?)