Palestinian Fried Cheese (Akawi)

My lessons in Palestinian cooking continue. This time with fried cheese. Mr. Foodie and I have been trapped indoors all weekend because of the extremely frigid temperatures outside. Last night the wind chill made it feel like zero degrees! To pass the time we made a few new recipes including this Palestinian version of fried cheese sticks.

Unlike the fried cheese you get at sports bars, this cheese doesn’t require a heavy coat of breading. The texture of the cheese resembles feta, but less crumbly. The akawi tastes fine by itself, but lightly dusted with a seasoned flour and then shallow-fried…it’s amazing.

Technically the recipe calls for a type of cheese called halloumi, but all I could find was akawi (spelled many different ways) which is similar. In the jar, the akawi cheese spears soak in brine similar to feta. I washed the brine off before frying to reduce the saltiness. Even so, this dish requires no additional salt and can stand up to a good amount of red pepper flakes and black pepper, so feel free to amp up the seasoning to taste. Like most fried foods, these are best right out of the pan, but they also remain soft and delicious after a while and can be reheated on a brown paper bag or paper towel. They’d make excellent party snacks.

Palestinian Fried Cheese (Halloumi or Akawi)

Recipe from Palestine on a Plate

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (for a shallow-fry)*

Halloumi or Akawi cheese blocks/spears

Flour

Red Pepper Flakes

Black Pepper

Lemons

Instructions:

Mix the flour, red pepper flakes, and black pepper together in a bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot. Slice or break up the halloumi or akawi cheese into bite-size pieces and coat with the flour mixture. Shake off excess. Shallow-fry the cheese 1-2 minutes on one side and 1-2 minutes on the other until golden brown. Drain on a paper bag or paper towel. Squeeze fresh lemon over fried cheese and enjoy!

*You can replenish the oil if you need to fry a lot of cheese all at once

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