Labneh (Yogurt Cheese/Greek Yogurt)
This is dip is served at many restaurants in Israel, alongside delicious silky hummus. The key is the draining of the yogurt – it removes the tart whey and creates a creamy, smooth deliciously thick yogurt.
One 750 mL tub of plain yogurt (do not purchase low-fat with thickeners – Astro is a good brand)
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful of assorted fresh herbs, chopped
Line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth. Pour the tub of yogurt into the strainer. Cover with the cheesecloth. Set the strainer over but not in a large bowl and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The next morning, pour off the whey (the whey can also be used as the liquid in yeast bread recipes).
Transfer the yogurt to a medium bowl. Rinse the cheesecloth well, and hang to dry. It can be used again and again.
Stir in the minced garlic and herbs. Season with salt.
In a small serving bowl, place several heaping spoonfuls of the labneh. Smooth out the yogurt and create a ‘crater’ in the centre. Sprinkle over more fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita and fresh vegetables.