Labneh with Dukkah and Flatbreads
Labneh is a traditional middle-Eastern dish where yoghurt is strained for a number of days to allow the excess liquid to drain off, leaving a thickened, creamy mixture behind. Labneh can be used for all manners of things, as a dip, spread, a filling and a topping. Here it stands in as the perfect dip, topped with a softly spiced dukkah mix, served alongside some irresistible fried bread. You’ll need to start the labneh a couple of days before you plan to serve it, but your date can help you prepare the rest of the dish. One of you can make the bread dough (then leave it to prove for about an hour), before shaping and frying it, and the other can make the dukkah.
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus 24-48+ hours hanging time for the labneh
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 C (500 ml) plain, full cream yoghurt
¾ tsp (3.75 ml) sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon, plus extra zest to serve
Fried Flatbread Triangles
¼ tsp (1.25 ml) sugar
1 C (250 ml) flour
1½ tsp (7.5 ml) dry instant yeast
pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
½ C (125 ml) tepid water
pinch of mixed dried herbs (optional)
vegetable oil for shallow frying
2 Tbsp (30 ml) ground hazelnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp (30 ml) ground macadamia nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cumin seeds toasted and crushed
¾ tsp (3.75 ml) dried thyme
pinch of dried mint
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the yoghurt, salt, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Place a strainer/colander in a separate clean bowl, and line with one layer of clean muslin or cheesecloth. Carefully transfer the yoghurt mixture to the muslin and cover well with the overhanging cloth. Place in the fridge and leave for 24-48 hours depending on how thick you want it. (24 hours of hanging will result in creamy labneh, 36-48 hours will be extra thick.)
Fried Flatbread Triangles
Sieve together the sugar, flour and yeast and sprinkle over the salt. Pour in the olive oil and the water and carefully combine. When a sticky dough forms, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough as necessary. When ready, place in a bowl which has been greased with some olive oil and wrap in greased cling film. Place in a warm place and leave to prove for at least 1 hour. The dough should double in size, which can take between 1-2 hours.
When the dough has risen, break off handful-sized pieces and roll out on a floured surface, into rough rectangular shapes about 2.5 mm – 1 cm thick. Cut across the dough diagonally to make triangles. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
Heat enough oil in a shallow frying pan to shallow fry the pieces of dough. Carefully place the dough into the oil, it should bubble immediately. Fry for about 2 minutes then carefully flip onto the other side and fry for another minute or two until golden brown.
Remove from the oil, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt and dried herbs, if using. Set aside until ready to serve.
Mix all of the ingredients together and check the seasoning. Correct as needed.
Shape the labneh into the desired shape in the centre of a serving dish. Scatter with dukkah and lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the fried bread.
See the other recipes in this series…