Curry is one of our favorite dishes to make at home, and we love trying new versions. This chickpea and halloumi curry is one of my current favorites. It’s a quick vegetarian weeknight dish made in less than 20 minutes, and is both super filling and low on calories. And it’s SO good!
What do you need to make a chickpea and halloumi curry?
- Tikka masala curry paste (or curry paste of choice)
What is halloumi?
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese, often made with a mixture of sheep’s, goat’s and cow’s milk. It’s kinda similar to mozzarella, but is a lot more chewy, and quite salty. Halloumi is unique in that it has a very high melting point. You can actually bake halloumi in the oven, add it to stews or curries, or even deep fry chunks of the cheese without it melting. I sometimes use halloumi as a meat replacer. It’s like a fillet, only of cheese. Amazing. If you’re interested in checking out other halloumi recipes, try Halloumi and butternut squash salad or Roasted courgette and halloumi salad.
Did you really just say that there’s cheese in this curry?
YEP. The halloumi doesn’t melt or anything. It’s actually well known for not melting, which means that you can do cool things like cooking solid chunks of it. The result from this recipe is soft, squishy chunks of warm cheese in curry sauce. It’s unbelievable. My partner hates halloumi, but this is the exception, that’s how good it is. Cheese is actually not uncommon in Indian curries. Many curries, particularly vegetarian ones, use a cheese called paneer, which is different from halloumi, but has the same anti melting properties.
How do you make this recipe?
Get ready for super easy instructions! First, dice onion and mince or grate garlic and ginger. Cook onion in a saucepan, add garlic and ginger, then curry paste, leaving about a minute between adding each ingredient. Stir through diced halloumi and rinsed chickpeas. Add passata, put the lid on and leave to boil for 4-5 minutes. Add spinach, and stir for a few seconds until the leaves are wilted. That’s it, you’re done! Next, we’ll take care of the side dishes.
What can you serve with this dish?
Chickpea and halloumi curry can be served with your favorite curry side dishes. As the curry itself has a lot of spices, and is quite filling, you would usually eat it with plain flavored sides. It’s common to serve with rice or naan bread. Raita, poppadoms, or chutney are also popular options.
Tips and substitutions
Onion, garlic and ginger – This is the holy trinity of Indian cooking. If you ever wondered what gives Indian food its flavor, it’s usually these three. Curries are easy to adapt, and you can for the most part choose the ingredients you prefer, but if possible you should definitely try to incorporate onion, garlic and ginger in one way or the other.
Curry paste – Curry paste is essentially a tomato paste with an Indian spice blend. You need a bunch of different spices for Indian cooking. Sometimes I simply make my own spice blend, but curry paste is a lot easier, and to be honest the result is often better as you get the right measurements. If you want to, you can replace the curry paste with tomato paste and your spices of choice.
Halloumi – This amazing cheese makes the curry a lot more exciting, but can be omitted. You can replace it with your choice of veg, or you could use paneer for a more traditional recipe.
Chickpeas – My personal favorite, and works well in this recipe. You could substitute this for roasted pieces of chicken or turkey, or black eyed beans. Chickpeas are great though. Try it if you haven’t!
Passata – This is basically a smooth, liquid tomato sauce. Think tomato ketchup or tomato paste, only thinner like a sauce. This is the base of our sauce. It doesn’t taste like much on its own, but gives the dish the right consistency, and with all the spices from the curry paste, onion, ginger and garlic, it’s all we need.
Spinach – I add a few handfuls of fresh spinach to this dish. It gives the curry a more interesting texture, and it’s always good to add a few greens to any meal. Spinach wilts down to be tiny, so two large handfuls pretty much disappear into the sauce within a minute of incorporating it.
Chickpea and halloumi curry
- thumb sized ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 tbsp tikka masala curry paste
- 1 tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 500 g passata
- 200 g halloumi, diced
- handful spinach
- Heat a splash of oil in a saucepan or pot.
- Add diced onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Stir to prevent burning.
- Add finely minced garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 more minute while stirring.
- Add the curry paste, stir and cook for another minute.
- Add chickpeas and halloumi to the saucepan, stir to coat in the curry paste
- Add passata, place a lid on top, and cook for 5 minutes until heated through
- Stir in a handful of spinach. It wilts within a minute, and the dish is then ready to serve.