CYPRIOT RECIPES | I announced this recipe several weeks ago already and here it is, finally. I finally made halloumi ravioli! And I carefully weighed, measured, photographed, timed everything so that I could share the recipe on this blog. How nice it is to make fresh pasta! I almost forgot how relaxing I find it to work with my hands, to knead, shape, touch, blow flour everywhere… Some may think you don’t play with food but I really suggest that you try … it’s almost like pottery. And if kids like to play with their food, there must be a reason for it, right 😉 ? Those ravioli can be served as part of a mezze or of a bigger meal. They are rarely served as just one meal. In fact, Cypriot eating tradition is a little bit like in Vietnam, where we tend to eat a lot different dishes in small quantities, rather than a “one plate meal”.
But what is halloumi exactly ? Let’s check on Wikipedia:
“Halloumi/həˈluːmi/ (Greek: χαλλούμι) or hellim (Turkish) (from Arabic: حلوم ḥallūm [ħalˈluːm]) is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Halloumi is set with rennet and is unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used in its preparation. Halloumi is popular in the Levant, Greece and Turkey. It has recently become very popular in the United Kingdom.”
So this is 100% really really typically Cypriot, which is why I really really wanted to make some.
For this recipe, I also used home made vegetable stock. I am not so fond of those cubes made of a powdery compressed unknown substance that you can easily find in stores. Plus, it is so easy to just simmer vegetables. It takes time ? Yes, but it also takes time to make ravioli… So just start with the vegetable stock and while it is simmering, use that waiting time to make those wonderful ravioli… and that’s all it takes.
For 2 liters vegetable stock:
I used what I had in store, but the idea is very simple: just choose very aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices and bring to the boil. Use for example carrots, onions, parsley, leek, celery, thyme, etc.
- 1 turnip
- 2 carrots
- 1 branch of celery with leaves
- 1 onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 peppercorns
- 6 coriander seeds
- 4 cloves
- 2 liters water
Peel the turnip and the carrots. Cut them into small peaces. Cut the celery into pieces of 4 to 5 cm. Clean the onion and stick the cloves into it. Fill a casserole with 2 liters of water, and add all the ingredients. You may use a tea bag for the peppercorns, coriander seeds and cloves so that they are easier to remove when the stock is ready. Cover, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Salt to taste. Let’s make our ravioli while the stock is simmering.
For about 35 ravioli:
- 2 cups durum wheat semolina
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 table spoon vegetable oil
- 380 gr halloumi
- 2 small eggs
- 1 to 2 teaspoons dried mint
- olive oil
Mix the salt with the semolina. Slowly add the water and oil while mixing with your fingers. Knead until the dough is firm and elastic.
Wrap with clingfilm and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s prepare the filling. Crush the dried mint with your hands. Grate the halloumi, or if you are lazy like me, cut it into pieces and use an electric grinder. Keep about 100 gr for serving. Lightly beat the eggs in a big bowl, add 280 gr grated halloumi (about 2 cups), and the dried mint. Mix well.
Sprinkle some semolina on your working surface. Cut the dough in two equal parts. Take the rolling pin to flatten the dough into a 10 cm wide strip. Try to have strips as thin as 1 mm or thinner. With a teaspoon, place a small quantity of the filling in a row along the length, leaving about 3 to 4 cm between each spoonful. Fold the dough and cover the fillings, then press with your fingers around the fillings to seal the dough.
Use a glass of the right size to cut the dough around the filling. Seal the edges of the ravioli with a fork.
Repeat this step until you have used all the dough and filling.
The vegetable stock should be ready by now! Remove the aromatic vegetables and herbs and bring to the boil. Cook the ravioli for 5 to 8 minutes depending on their size and thickness. When ready, they float up to the surface, which means that the dough is cooked through. You can then remove them with a skimmer. Serve on a plate with a little bit of stock to moisten the pasta, and sprinkle with grated halloumi and dried mint. Add some olive oil. Being Asian, however, I really wanted to have them with a lot of stock, a little bit like wan tan … and this is what it looked like: