Labneh is so easy to make at home, and makes a delicious spread or dip on an antipasto platter!
- 500 g buffalo yoghurt Greek yoghurt or other unsweetened full-cream yoghurt (2 cups)
- 1 clove garlic small clove, finely crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon
- ¾ cup fresh herbs – I like a mix of parsley chives and marjoram but any will work, finely chopped
- Place a fine sieve over a bowl or line a colander with muslin or a linen cloth.
- Tip yoghurt into sieve, cover with clean tea towel and leave to drain in fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Buffalo yoghurt is extra thick so it will need to be pressed to remove some of the liquid (whey).
- The curd that remains should be thick and solid enough to be shaped. Discard the whey. Tip curd into a clean bowl. Add garlic, salt and a good grind of pepper and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Shape curd into logs or balls.
- Place chopped herbs on a plate. Roll each log or ball in herbs. The labneh can be served immediately or stored in the fridge in a sealed container.
- Use natural full-cream yoghurt, which you can find in supermarkets. Low-fat yoghurt won’t work.
- To use curd as the basis of a yoghurt dip or tzatziki, mix in grated cucumber (strain first to remove moisture). Add flavourings such as finely chopped mint, lemon zest or chopped sun-dried tomatoes or olives. Drizzle in some olive oil and season well.
- To give labneh as a present, or to preserve it to take on holiday, roll mini balls of curd in a mix of dried herbs and dried chilli flakes. Place in a clean jar and cover with a 70:30 mix of olive oil and high-quality sunflower oil.
How long you strain the yoghurt will determine how dry the labneh gets. You might like to keep it fairly soft and use it as the base of a dip. Or you can keep straining it until you get a more cheese-like consistency, and use in place of feta in a salad. Be sure to use full-fat yoghurt for this recipe – buffalo yoghurt or Greek yoghurt works best. Check out this article that featured in NADIA magazine all about Whangaripo Buffalo!