Making your own labneh (strained cheesy yoghurt) is a great trick to have up your sleeve. It works beautifully with a number of dishes, from breakfast to toasties and salads and right through to seafood, like this African-inspired bream.






Skill level

Average: 4.8 (3 votes)


  • 2 tbsp harissa paste (see below)
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 4 bream fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • ½ bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • flat breads, to serve


  • 1 litre natural yoghurt
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 10 g (2 tsp) salt

Harissa paste

  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 long red chillies
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Start the labneh a day or two ahead - it needs to strain for 24-48 hours.

For the harissa, preheat oven to its highest setting and roast the capsicum and chilli on a lined baking tray until soft, around 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to steam. De-seed and remove skin from both and roughly chop. In a pan, on medium-high heat, caramelise the onion and garlic. In a dry pan, toast cumin seeds and then combine all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

For the labneh, mix all ingredients well together in a bowl, then transfer the contents to another mixing bowl lined with a muslin cloth. Bring the sides of the cloth together, tie together and hang over a bucket in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Drain the bucket of excess water. By doing this, the edges of the yoghurt will firm up and the centre will stay creamy for longer.

For the fish, combine half the paste, coriander, cumin and salt in a bowl, then spread all over the fish to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour (3 hours is ideal) in the fridge.

Heat the oil in a frypan over medium-high heat and cook the bream for 1 minute on each side (you want a slight little touch of golden). Remove fish and add onion, cooking until golden.

Add the remaining harissa paste, allspice and honey. Season with salt and pepper, then return fish back to the pan, and baste with a spoon. Cover with a lid and cook for 4 minutes or until done. Season with a final squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of coriander.

To serve, tear up some flat bread and top with some fish, sauce, and a dollop of labneh.