Labna or labneh is a Middle Eastern staple. It’s made by removing excess whey from salted yoghurt, which results in a velvety, cream cheese-like spread with a lightly sour note. It’s eaten on bread and topped with olives, mint, tomato, cucumber and olive oil. Fouad Kassab is a food writer and author of Middle Eastern-inspired The Food Blog.
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 500 ml Lebanese or Greek-style yoghurt
- olive oil, to drizzle
- tomato, cucumber, fresh herbs, to serve
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.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Standing time 6 hours
Makes 1½ cups
Line a colander (preferably one with a high base) with two layers of moistened and wrung out muslin that overhang the rim of the colander. Place the colander on top of a large bowl, elevated so the labna is well above any liquid whey that drains out.
Add the salt to the yoghurt and pour onto the muslin. Set aside, refrigerated for about 6 hours, allowing the whey to drain off naturally. (The consistency of the yoghurt will become thicker and creamier. For thicker consistency, drain for longer. To make labna balls, hang the muslin parcel by string, refrigerated for 24 hrs.)
Wipe off any whey that has stuck to the base and sides of the colander while draining.
Transfer the labna to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with fresh herbs, tomato and cucumber.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.