This labneh (or labne) is a crazy delicious yogurt dip that’s just perfect for summery evenings outside.
The recipe is from the recently published gorgeous cookbook ‘Souq’, by Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol. It collects over a 100 mezze (small bites) recipes to fill your table with their version of the generous Arabian hospitality: traditional, but always with a unique twist.
The authors are pretty well known for their version of the strained yogurt dip labneh: always sprinkled with an array of creative toppings and a feast to look at. I just couldn’t wait making my own version.
Making labneh is actually pretty simple. All you need is yogurt, salt and a little pit of patience. This time, I made two versions: one with classic thick Turkish yogurt (so creamy!) and another one with goat yogurt (nice and tangy) and both versions were amazing.
The labneh toppings not only look breathtaking, but they also add some bite (because of the pistachio), spice (oregano) and a little bit of sweetness (pomegranate seeds). Drizzling the labne with pomegranate molasses also adds a lovely sweet and sour accent.
The original recipe uses anise seeds, but I skipped these this time. I did add some olive oil though, because the Arabian-Mediterranean kitchen likes to use lots of it and I can only agree.
for 6-8 persons
1 tbsp sea salt
4 cups (1 liter) good quality yoghurt (not low-fat!)
2 tbsp pistachios, shelled
3 sprigs of oregano, only the leaves
½ pomegranate, only the seeds
pomegranate molasses and good olive oil, to drizzle
Stir the salt through the yogurt. Place a clean cheesecloth, muslin or kitchen towel in a colander, add the salted yogurt and leave to strain for at least 4 hours to overnight.
Toast the pistachios in a dry frying pan until fragrant and chop them finely.
Spread the strained yogurt on a pretty plate, smooth the surface with a spoon and make some circular grooves on top.
Add all topping ingredients and drizzle over the molasses and olive oil. Serve with flatbread for dipping.