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Salt and Pepper Halloumi Fries (+air fryer method)

UK Takeaway style Chinese Salt and Pepper Chips has a cheesy makeover with these incredible Salt and Pepper Halloumi Fries!

A close up shot of salt and pepper halloumi fries in a bowl next to two forks.

Salt and Pepper Halloumi – Vegetarian Salt and Pepper recipe

Deliciously crispy Air Fryer Halloumi Fries and crunchy vegetables are tossed in a five spice salt & pepper seasoning!

This recipe makes the party food favourite halloumi fries even more exciting – I didn’t think it could even be possible until now.

I love my fusion food, especially British-Indian fusion but now I am venturing out into different cuisines like this British-Chinese combo! Throw in Halloumi and this is truly a global dish!

Salt and Pepper chips originated in the nineties as Chinese chippies in the UK wanted to introduce Chinese flavours to those who preferred chips! There are so many different variations of vegetarian or vegan salt and pepper recipes.

I had a packet of store-bought halloumi fries and a sorry looking pepper sat in the fridge so I thought I’d experiment with them and make a salt and pepper version! I’m so glad that I did – the flavours all complement each other so well.

Halloumi Fries

Halloumi fries are essentially batons or chips of halloumi which are coated in flour and shallow fried. They are crispy, creamy inside and so satisfying! They can also be air fried to achieve the same perfectly crispy coating.

Halloumi is a white hard cheese that hails from Cyprus. Thanks to the properties of halloumi, it doesn’t melt when cooked so holds its shape beautifully for fries and for these BBQ Halloumi and Mushroom Skewers.

I grew up eating mozzarella cheese sticks as a kid but I never tried halloumi fries until a Christmas ago where I ordered them at a Christmas market.

Halloumi fries are so expensive to buy ready-made so I thought I am better off making them at home myself! Thanks to my Instant Pot Air Fryer, the recipe couldn’t be more simple.

Why make air fryer Halloumi Fries

There are so many reasons why using the air fryer beats shallow frying.

No splashes of hot oil – there is nothing worse than burning yourself on spluttering hot oil. With the air fryer lid shut, you eliminate that risk.

Uses less oil – makes the dish cheaper overall as you do not need to fill a pan with oil. A few squirts of cooking oil is sufficient

Lower in fat – it is no secret that cheese does contain plenty of fat so I didn’t want to add more to the recipe

Air fryer heats up quicker than oil – a quick pre-heat and the air fryer is ready. A pan with oil would probably take longer than that.

You can skip the flour if making halloumi fries in the air fryer – I like to add the flour to make them extra crispy but you can leave off the flour to keep the fries keto

An Ariel shot of salt and pepper halloumi fries bowl placed next to spring onion bowl.

Why you should make this recipe:

Suitable for vegetarians– this recipe is suitable for those following a vegetarian diet. It is meat, fish and egg-free. This recipe avoids using chicken powder also.

Easy to find ingredients – a quick stop at your local grocery store will provide you with everything you need for this recipe

Full of flavours – thanks to the incredible seasoning and fresh vegetables, this dish is so flavourful yet doesn’t have super strong, overpowering flavours.

Ingredients for salt and pepper halloumi fries

Halloumi Fries Ingredients

Halloumi – halloumi is easy to source from your local supermarket in the cheese section. Any type of halloumi works well. Halloumi that is packaged with dried herbs may impart a bit of a Mediterranean flavour to the dish so you may want to try and find one without the flavouring. You can also use grilling cheese which is available in some shops. Another option is paneer which has a high melting point so will hold its shape.

Other alternatives are Greek semi-hard cheeses such as graviera, kefalograviera and kefalotyri

Flour – plain flour or all purpose flour works great and you only need a small amount for a block of halloumi. Gluten-free flour also works just as well. Corn starch or rice flour leads to even crispier halloumi

Spray cooking oil

If shallow frying: use a neutral flavoured oil such as vegetable, sunflower, canola or grapeseed.

For the Chinese Salt & Pepper seasoning

White pepper powder – ground from white peppercorns, you can find this in most supermarkets, alternatively use black pepper

Chinese five spice – it gives a unique savoury flavour in Chinese cooking. The powder consists of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. It can easily be found

Red chilli flakes – you can adjust this according to your spice level

Sugar

Salt

Optional:

Sichuan peppercorns – to make this recipe more spicy, add crushed Sichuan Peppercorns which provide a numbing heat

Garlic Powder – if you do not want to use fresh garlic in the recipe, you can add some garlic powder to the seasoning.

salt and pepper seasoning for Chinese style chips/fries

Vegetables

Fresh vegetables: white onion, spring onions, bell pepper (red and green), red or green chillies

I like to cut the vegetables into long strips and cut the chillies and spring onion into fine rounds.

Garlic – fresh minced or finely chopped garlic is best.

Oil – use a flavourless oil

Chinese Salt & Pepper Chips

Fancy trying out the original? It is easy to make. For Salt and Pepper Chips, we need chips instead of halloumi fries.

I air fried all-purpose potatoes that are cut into chips for 12 minutes on 205C. They just need a little spray of oil.

You can also cook frozen oven fries or chips and toss with the vegetables and seasoning.

Salt & Pepper Tofu

For a vegan recipe, salt and pepper tofu is great! It is healthier and higher in protein. The tofu is drained, cut into cubes or batons, and can be baked or air fried until crispy. The tofu is then tossed into the vegetables and seasoning.

Other variations

Salt and Pepper Aubergine, Salt & Pepper Asparagus, Salt and Pepper Mushroom, Salt and Pepper Onion Rings, tater tots, hash browns…

A very close up image of Chinese style salt and pepper fries served in a bowl

How to make Salt & Pepper Halloumi Fries

Firstly, prepare the halloumi fries:

Preheat your air fryer.

Slice the halloumi into chips/fries. Coat in your flour of choice then shake off the excess.

Arrange in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Spray with cooking oil. Air Fry for 10 minutes on 180C. You may have to turn the fries at the half way mark.

Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the powders. Keep this for later on.

Next, prepare all the vegetables.

I like the onions and peppers to be cut into strips but you could cube them if you prefer. I finely chop the garlic and cut the spring onion and chillies.

Add oil to a pan and add all the vegetables and sauté on high heat for 1-2 minutes. I do not sauté for long because I want the vegetables to remain crunchy.

Toss in the halloumi fries (or chips, tofu, aubergine, hash browns or whatever you happen to be using). Sprinkle over about 1-2 tsp of seasoning or adjust according to your taste and how much you’re making.

Mix gently so not to brake the fries and serve immediately!

Tips

To make this recipe even more easy for yourself, you can spruce up a packet of ready-made halloumi fries from the supermarket and toss them in your homemade salt and pepper seasoning! So easy, quick and    chances are, you’ve already got a stray pepper kicking about in your fridge anyway!

Leave on the milky fluid that’s in the packet as it helps the flour to stick to the halloumi

You can easily use gluten-free flour in replacement of plain flour

Rice flour or corn-starch provides an even crunchier coating

You can also use paneer batons as paneer holds its shape with cooking. 

Do not overcook the vegetables, they are best crunchy and also more nutrients are retained that way.

For children, you can leave out the chilli flakes or use less in the recipe.

How to reduce salt in halloumi

Halloumi is pretty salty thanks to the preserving salt added to it.

To reduce the saltiness, soak halloumi in enough water and the juice of a lemon until just covered for 20 minutes. Drain the halloumi and pat dry before using.

How to serve salt and pepper halloumi fries

Serve this dish hot to enjoy the vegetables at their most crunchy and the halloumi at its most crunchy!

The delicious finger licking coating means that these are best eaten as they are – no dip required!

Why not make a meal and serve with Vegetable Chow Mein.

Salt and pepper halloumi cheese served with two forks

FAQS

Is salt and pepper an authentic recipe?

No, this is not an authentic Chinese recipe. It was invented by UK Chinese chippies as a way of blending Chinese flavours with Brit favourite chips.

Can I reheat this recipe?

Yes you can. The best way to reheat is to place the seasoned chips in the air fryer and warm for about 2-3 minutes.
Alternatively, toss onto a baking tray and heat until hot through. Just heat until everything is warm or else the vegetables will burn.

How can I make this recipe keto?

Halloumi fries without the flour coating can be considered keto.

Can I prepare this recipe ahead of time?

Not really. Halloumi fries are best eaten after they are cooked for the best texture. You can prepare the dish by cutting the veggies in advance and cutting the halloumi into fries. Save the coating in flour and cooking until just before serving.

What is the difference between black pepper and white pepper powder?

Freshly ground black pepper is hot, floral, and pungent n taste whereas white pepper is less so. White pepper is more commonly used in Chinese and Thai dishes.

I don’t have an air-fryer, how can I make Halloumi fries?

After coating the halloumi slices in plain flour, shallow fry them in a frying pan on both sides until crispy.

Other Fries/Chips Recipes

Easy Air Fryer Avocado Fries

Indian Masala Fries

Masala Mogo Chips

Easy Sweet Potato Fries in Air Fryer

Cassava/Yucca Fries

Kenyan Style Masala Chips

TikTok Air Fryer Pasta Chips

Banana/Plantain Chips Air Fryer

Mogo Chips 65

As always if you make this recipe, rate it below and tag me on Instagram at @jcookingodyssey. I love seeing all of your photos of my recipe recreations. Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube also. I’d love to keep in touch!

Salt and Pepper Halloumi Fries

Hayley Dhanecha
Deliciously crispy Air Fryer Halloumi Fries and crunchy vegetables are tossed in a Chinese five spice salt & pepper seasoning.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, lunch, Mains, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine British, Chinese
Servings 4 people
Calories 294 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 300 gram Halloumi cut into chips
  • 2 tbsp flour plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp oil use cooking spray
  • 1 onion brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ red pepper cut into thin strips
  • ½ green pepper cut into thin strips
  • ¼ cup spring onion green onion
  • 1 chilli red or green chilli

Salt and Pepper Seasoning

  • 1 tsp five spice
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp sugar white granulated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes

Instructions
 

Air Fryer Halloumi Fries

  • Cut the halloumi into chips
    300 gram Halloumi
  • Coat in flour and shake off the excess
    2 tbsp flour
  • Add to the air fryer basket and spray cooking oil
    1 tsp oil
  • Air Fry for 10 minutes at 205C/400F. Turn over at 5 minutes

Prepare the seasoning

  • Mix together all the spice powders in a bowl for the Chinese five spice seasoning and set aside
    1 tsp five spice, 1 tsp white pepper powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp red chilli flakes

Cooking the vegetables

  • Add oil to a pan and add the onion, garlic, peppers, chilli and spring onion. Reserve some of the green part of the spring onion to garnish later.
    1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1/4 cup spring onion, 1 chilli
  • Cook on High heat for 1-2 minutes and turn off the heat
  • Add the halloumi fries and sprinkle seasoning to taste
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Salt and Pepper Halloumi Fries
Amount per Serving
Calories
294
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
13
g
81
%
Trans Fat
 
0.01
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Sodium
 
1494
mg
65
%
Potassium
 
185
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
18
g
36
%
Vitamin A
 
842
IU
17
%
Vitamin C
 
51
mg
62
%
Calcium
 
777
mg
78
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator/plugin. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.

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