Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Labneh in Olive Oil and spices

If there was a tasty and healthy option to cheese, I would vote for this.  Labneh or laban is a popular middle eastern snack made from strained yogurt.

Plain yogurt is strained to remove the whey using muslin cloth over a period of 24-48 hours to form a soft cheese which will then formed into balls and serve with extra virgin Olive Oil and sprinkled with spices and black seed.

If you dont already have muslin cloth, you can actually use coffee filter for the same effect.  I prefer using the muslin as it is easy to handle and can be reuse over and over again.....after all muslin are cheap and readily available.

So lets get to the ingredients:

You will need :

1 kg plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Muslin cloth (about 2 feet square) 
Extra virgin Olive Oil
Black Seed (Habbatussawda/Sativa seeds)
Spice mix (I used Harissa spice mix)

Mix yogurt with salt and sugar in a bowl. Place muslin cloth in another bowl and pour yogurt mix onto the cloth. You can immediately see the whey (a clear liquid) dripping into the catcher bowl. Tie the muslin over the yogurt into a neat and tight pouch with plenty of string to hang this pouch in your refrigerator.

Tie the package together with a rubberband and hang it from a hook, placing your bowl beneath to catch any dripping whey.

After the 24 hours is up, you will find your catcher bowl is filled with whey. This whey is rich in beneficial bacteria and as such is slightly acidic.   Don’t throw it away, the thin faintly green-looking liquid is quite valuable.   You can use it to soak grains to render them more digestible, in bread baking, as a starter for fermented foods and in smoothies for extra protein and probiotics.   Whey should keep, refrigerated, for up to six months.  

You will find your cheese is now formed and you can store them in a container and make them into a cream cheese frosting for your cupcakes or use in cooking pasta, salads, dips and many other variety of dishes.

soft cheese is formed with similar texture to cream cheese

For this recipe, you will shape them into bite size balls and serve in a bowl filled with extra virgin oil and topped with spices and black seeds.

This snack is packed full of goodness from all the sunnah foods, milk, extra virgin olive oil and black seed (habbatussawda).

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