• Turkish meat sauce with homemade pasta (Feast magazine)Source: Feast magazine
Just as the Turks, Balkans and Indians have long known, yoghurt is more than a breakfast staple. Drizzle it over Middle Eastern-style stuffed veg, serve a dollop with grilled meat, stir through cake batters, and blend it into Greek-style dips. No muesli allowed.
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6 Aug 2020 - 11:50 AM  UPDATED 6 Aug 2020 - 11:50 AM

1. The five-minute side dish

Just like Argentinians spoon heapfuls of chimichurri over their barbecued meats, those in the Middle East opt for a yoghurt salad. It's oft jazzed up with slices of subtle cucumber, pungent garlic and the best olive oil on hand. If this is your first dabble with savoury yoghurt, try it with baked kibbeh or stuffed vegetables.

2. Marinade with the most

You're likely no stranger to marinating chicken with lemon (Greek-style) or red wine (undeniably French, sometimes Italian), but how about yoghurt? Its acidity tenderises the meat and does a particularly top job of softening tough cuts of lamb. Here, yoghurt lends this olive and feta crusted chicken a complex edge.

3. The white stuff

A combination you'd do well to memorise is yoghurt mixed with a few teaspoons of dried mint. Granted, it's a simple dressing, but its distinctly fresh tang instantly lifts Feast's stuffed zucchinis to tongue-tantalising places.

4. Cop a dollop

Picture the below without yoghurt. Still good, right? But lacking that luscious je ne se quois. This recipe for homemade pasta with Turkish meat sauce is a cooking lesson in itself: to taste Turkey, just add yoghurt.

Turkish meat sauce with homemade pasta

5. Makin' dessert less sinful

Don't get us wrong, baked cheesecake is a glorious thing, but when you're after something lighter, yoghurt makes a fast filling for dessert tarts. Case in point: this mulberry and lemon yoghurt tart is a wholesome treat that shines with whatever seasonal fruit takes your fancy. Via My Darling Lemon Thyme

6. All-round breadwinner

Matthew Evans' incredibly easy yoghurt flatbreads take minutes to cook. Yes, minutes! Piping hot from the wood-fired oven or chargrill, they're perfect for sopping up creamy curries or used as the base for mini lamb pizzas. Via Feast magazine

7. Soften the toughies

The crux of a great marinade is to add another layer of flavour to a dish. This recipe for spiced roast leg of lamb does just that, calling for the lamb to meddle in a spiced yoghurt mixture for a good eight hours. The result is simply sumptuous and any leftovers make for gourmet sandwiches the next day.

8. Dip your toe into homemade mezze

Although homemade dips are a cinch, we still rely on bought-stuff more than we care to admit. Break the habit with this too-easy roasted red capsicum dip – a staple of the Greek kitchen. Just make sure the bread is crusty. Very crusty.

9. Healthy does it

Bircher muesli would be a snore-fest without yoghurt, and the same is true of this cold broccoli salad. It's good health in a bowl, with superb crunch thanks to raw broccoli and freshness via pomegranate. Make it for lunch with a few slices of toasted rye. Via Green Kitchen Stories

10. What's the big dill?

We've always been enthusiastic about food on sticks, none more so than this Istanbul street snack of fried mussels with tarator. The dip is a simple combo of white bread, walnuts, Greek-style yoghurt and dill. Blend and serve. Via Feast magazine

11. You're hot then you're cold

An Armenian classic, this yoghurt, mint and barley soup is eaten hot in winter and chilled in summer – the egg prevents the yoghurt curdling. Before serving, add chopped coriander or parsley for herbaceous zing.

12. Afternoon delights

Adding yoghurt to cakes is a well-loved Greek tradition, as well as a favourite of Matthew Evans. First, he unleashed his ultimate flaky scones, next was a yoghurt and raspberry cake with elderflower syrup, and now it's the adults-only yoghurt citrus cake with gin syrup. Well played, Matthew.

Via Feast magazine

Yoghurt citrus cake with gin syrup

13. Take me to cheesetown

Labne is an express route to cheese making, as it's essentially yoghurt drained of its whey. The result is a thick, silky mass known in the Middle East as labna or labneh. Add interest with top-shelf olive oil, za'atar or chilli flakes.

 

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