Labaneh (or yoghurt cheese), a wonderful middle eastern dip…
Labaneh is an essential thing on any breakfast menu in the Arab world. I’ve been a big fan of Labaneh since I was a kid, it makes a wonderful sandwich with pita bread – just plain or with a sprinkle of Zatar.
Tasty Kurat Al Labaneh are very easy to make, and the best part is that you can flavour labaneh balls with anything that you like, walnuts, olives, zatar, basil, oregano, paprika, chilli, summaq, or just eat it plain!
To make Labaneh at home you will need 1kg of natural plain yoghurt, a pinch of salt, olive oil, and any topping that you may like!
Place the yoghurt into a clean double cheesecloth and drain for 4-5 hours, or leave the yogurt to strain overnight in the fridge. If you do not drain the yoghurt enough, you will get regular labaneh but you won’t be able to form balls, so in order to get the consistency that you want, you have to drain the yoghurt really well (If you feel like your labaneh is still too liquid to form balls, place a weight on the labaneh and let it drain). You should get the consistency of cottage cheese. Add a pinch of salt and mix.
As for the whey that you get from making labaneh, you can just use it as buttermilk.
When you get the consistency that you want, roll pieces of labaneh into balls and store in olive oil in a jar. If you store the labaneh balls in olive oil they will last for more than a year in the fridge.
To add toppings, simply add whatever topping that you may like in the labaneh either before rolling into balls, or for a lighter version, make plain labaneh balls then roll in any topping that you like. In this recipe I added a little bit of paprika as well as chopped walnuts for the topping.
My favourite way to eat labaneh balls is taking one from the jar and spreading it on a piece of pita bread for breakfast. But they also make great appetisers. It is also delicious to serve labaneh as dip with cucumbers and carrots!