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Homemade Labneh Recipe - Unavoidably Lipsmacking Mezze

Homemade Labneh Recipe – Unavoidably Lipsmacking Mezze
Sumit Malhotra

Homemade Labneh Recipe is very simple to make, however, it does consume some bits of ones time. Having said that it is totally worth the effort. If you’ve never had labneh before, then you’re in for a real treat. Labneh is a Middle Eastern (Origins seem to be Lebanese) dish made from curds or yoghurt (Laban) strained of the liquid whey until it is the consistency of cream cheese. That is why, some call it yogurt cheese, others call it the Lebanese cream cheese but it is most commonly known as Labneh. It is a staple on any breakfast menu in the Middle East and surely is one of my favorite dips to dips the snacks in. It also forms an integral part of Meze or Mezze as does Hummus bi Tahina.

In India, we are all Master Chefs when we make homemade curd or yogurt even though at times we pick up cups of ready made yogurt from the hypermarkets. We are experts nevertheless. To make Labneh is taking humble curds to yet another level. Well!! After all this Homemade Labneh Recipe requires cheese to be made out of curd by draining out the whey and adding salt and lemon juice (optional) to it. So if you like cream cheese, Labneh will take you to another level since it is similar in consistency yet better than cream cheese. Compared to cream cheese Labneh is much healthier and lighter in calories.

To make Labneh the best choice it to use homemade curds, however, you can make it using regular yogurt or fat free yogurt as well. Regular homemade labneh recipe makes Labneh that (hung from anywhere from 6 – 12 hours) lasts for 2-3 weeks when refrigerated. Strain it further for 24 hours, roll it into balls and you will get a Labneh that is called “Labneh Makbouseh” or “Labneh Korat” and means “Labneh balls” which can be stored for almost a year when submerged in olive oil and refrigerated. So while Labneh as a dip is consumed fresh, you can say Labneh Makbouseh is pickled to last a bit longer, if it would (hehehe … ) since I have never been able to save even a small bowl till date.

For flavoring and garnishing Labneh further, you will need olive oil and herbs like oregano, mint, parsley, za’atar mix, sumac, pepper, chilli flakes. You can even dunk cucumbers, olives and/or celery sticks and munch on them. Pretty much use whatever you wish too. Eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. I usually add minced garlic to my Labneh dip but not while making Labneh Makbouseh. Here is my homemade labneh recipe. Enjoy 🙂


What you need for Homemade Labneh Recipe?

ingredients?

what kinds?

how much?

Curds or YogurtHomemade is best. Others are fine too.2 X 400 gm Cups
GarlicFinely minced1 tablespoon
SaltTable Salt or Sea Salt if you must1 teaspoon
Lemon JuiceOptional (I like it for added tang)1 Tablespoon
Olive OilI used Extra Virgin for a drizzle2 Tablespoons
Za’atar Spice Mix1 Teaspoon
Pimento or Cherry Pepper1 Teaspoon

Method

  1. Hang the curds or yogurt in a clean porous cotton fabric or cheese cloth or multiple layers of kitchen towels or even a fine metallic sieve.
  2. Add salt, garlic and lemon juice. Use of lemon juice and garlic is optional. I like it to be a bit tangy so I add them.
  3. Let this hang for 12 hours in a sieve or a strainer lined with the cotton fabric or even without it. Let the whey drain out in a container below it. If you want it sooner you can even remove it after 6 hours.
  4. Move your spatula to make uneven surfaces on the surface of Labneh and garnish with za’atar spice and pimento.
  5. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Serve with your chosen snack or nuts, kebabs, pita bread and celery sticks. Everything goes with this delicious creation.

Visual Process of Homemade Labneh Recipe (It’s indeed that simple)


Adaptations & Suggestions for Homemade Labneh

While the recipe listed here is as close it can get to authentic, you should try out to adapt it to your tastes. I am positive that you will be really happy with the results.

  • If you run short of labneh, here is a trick. Add some sour cream to it. To make sour cream at home, follow this recipe.
  • Za’atar spice is easily available in premium stores in India now though its definitely costly. The one I picked up is Rs.225 for a mere 38 grams. You can easily replace this with oregano, parsley, thyme, chives or even a mixture of all these. By all means use that saved pizza seasoning of yours.
  • I used za’atar spice and pimento. If you do not have these handy, use herbs like oregano, mint, parsley, pepper, chilli flakes, leftover Italian seasoning that you saved after gobbling down that pizza.
  • Play around with lemon, garlic and olive oil to suit your taste.
  • Serve Labneh with pita bread or chips to get the Lebanese feel at home.
  • Use it for your sandwiches instead of butter for that healthy touch.
  • If making it for kids, add some bits of honey or even jam to it. I can assure you, they will love every bit of it. With this homemade labneh recipe, possibilities are endless.
  • For recipe of Labneh Maksoubeh, please click here.
  • For uses of leftover whey, please click here.
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Homemade Labneh Recipe - Unavoidably Lipsmacking Mezze
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