This dried fig chutney is the perfect partner to salty, slight squeaky Middle Eastern halloumi, though it would be wonderful with most other cheeses as well. Serve as a light meal with herbed naan on the side.


  • For the chutney

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

  • ½ tsp fennel seeds

  • ¼ tsp chilli powder, or to taste

  • ½ small onion, chopped

  • 8g root ginger, peeled weight, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated

  • 100g dried figs, finely chopped

  • 3½ tbsp red wine vinegar, or to taste

  • 2 tsp caster sugar, or to taste

  • 1/ 3 tsp garam masala

  • 1/ 3 tsp roasted ground cumin

  • Small fistful of pistachios

  • For the halloumi

  • 250g packet of halloumi, cut into

  • 1–1½cm slices

  • 1 tbsp panch phoran (see recipe introduction)

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • ¾ tbsp lemon juice

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 handfuls of salad leaves


  • 1.

    For the chutney, heat the oil in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the fennel seeds and chilli powder, cook for 20 seconds, then add the onion and sauté for two or three minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute or until the garlic is colouring a little. Add the figs, vinegar, sugar and remaining spices along with a splash of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook until the figs are soft and the whole thing has come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, seeing if you would like more sugar, vinegar or chilli powder. Blend half the chutney together until smooth, then return it to the pan and mix it with the chunky chutney. Stir in the pistachios and set aside.

  • 2.

    Cut the halloumi into long 1cm thick slices. Sprinkle a little of the panch phoran on one side. Heat a pan and add the oil. Add the halloumi spice side down and cook until golden on the edges, around one or two minutes. Flip over and cook this side in the same way.

  • 3.

    Whisk together the extra virgin oil and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad leaves gently in this dressing and serve with the cheese and some fig chutney on the side.

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