Labneh is a popular spread/dip in the Middle East, prepared with yogurt. It is thick yogurt which looks like cheese. Yogurt is drained overnight or longer by hanging it in a cheesecloth. It is served as a dip with pita or with vegetables. It also makes a great spread for sandwiches.
Labneh is usually prepared with full fat yogurt and have read online that it tastes better with homemade yogurt. I tried to make it with homemade yogurt but I had nonfat. Once I put nonfat yogurt in the cheesecloth, it just drained through the cloth :p Hence I used Greek yogurt. I let it drain in the fridge for almost 2 days.
For today’s lunch, I replaced cheese with some labneh in a very simple cucumber tomato chickpeas salad. I really liked labneh with crunchy vegetables and chickpeas. Greek yogurt is rich in protein and 1 cup 2% yogurt has 23 grams of protein, 46% of daily value with 170 calories. This is the last yogurt recipe for this week, in this Cooking Carnival. I will be back on Monday with another protein rich ingredient.
- 1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt
- Few drops Lime Juice
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp. Salt
- ¼ – ⅓ cup Extra Olive Oil (depending on how it is served)
- Herbs (I used 1 tsp each of chopped fresh mint and cilantro)
- Take yogurt, salt, lime juice in a bowl and mix until combined.
- Take a cheesecloth and fold it in 3-4 layers. I used one cheesecloth. Place yogurt and tie a knot. Carefully glide a wooden spoon in that knot such that the yogurt cheesecloth is hanging on the handle of the spoon. Place wooden spoon on a high bowl such that whey from the yogurt drips into the bowl. Put it in the fridge. Below pictures is not clear but this how I placed it.
- Let the yogurt drain overnight to up to 2 days. For Greek yogurt overnight to a day will suffice.
- Next day squeeze cheesecloth to remove any whey this is still hanging on the cloth, transfer yogurt to a bowl.
- If using as dip, season with herbs and spices, add 2 tbsp of oil and mix. Taste and add salt. It is ready to use as dip and also as a spread for sandwiches.
- If using in salads, crumble and add to salads.
- Storage – The dip will stay good in the refrigerator upto a week. If you want to store it longer, don’t add any seasoning. Shape it into small balls. In a storage container, take about ¼ – ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, add finely chopped fresh herbs. I used about 1 tsp each of mint and cilantro. Herbs should be chopped finer than what you see in the pictures. Add labneh balls to oil, store in the fridge. This is the first time I made labneh at home but from what I read online, these labneh balls stay fresh upto a month in the refrigerator.
- I wished I spiced labneh with either little bit of black pepper powder or chili flakes. Another spice would be zaatar spice blend as it is a middle eastern spice, that might be an interesting spice to spice up labneh.
- I used cilantro & mint and other herbs one could use are parsley or basil.
- I used 2 mini cucumbers slices, 10 grape tomatoes cut in half, ½ small red onion slices, 4-5 labneh cut crumbled into 2-3 pieces, ¼ cup cooked chickpeas, little bit of pepper powder, salt, few drops of lime juice, finely chopped mint and cilantro, and some extra virgin olive oil. Toss everything and serve. Add salt just before serving.
Here is a recap of Cooking Carnival. I will be back on Monday with a new ingredient.
Week 2 – Moong Bean/Dal
Day 1 – Ram Ladoo
Day 2 – Moong Dal Laddu ~ Pesaru Pappu Muddalu
Day 3 – Moong Dal Vegetable Rice ~ Khichdi
Day 4 – Homemade Sprouts & Spouts Stir Fry
Day 5 – Moong Dal Dhokla
Day 6 – Sprouted Moong Beans Chaat
Week 3 – Chicken
Day 1 – Chicken Kheema
Day 2 – Doro Wat ! Ethiopian Chicken Stew
Day 3 – Desi Style Chicken Soup
Day 4 – Penne Pasta with Hot Italian Chicken Sausage
Day 5 – Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Day 6 – Chicken Curry with Cashew Powder
Week 4 – Yogurt
Day 1 – Daddojanam ~ Yogurt Rice
Day 2 – Dahi Vada
Day 3 – Potlakaya Pachadi ~ Snake Gourd in Yogurt Sauce
Day 4 – Rose Flavored Yogurt ~ Rooh Azfa Shrikand
Day 5 – Fenugreek Flavored Buttermilk ~ Menthi Majjiga