Traditional Middle Eastern Labneh with a Roasted Garam Masala twist

Traditional Middle Eastern Labneh with a Roasted Garam Masala twist

This week’s recipe is a traditional Middle Eastern dish with an Indian twist. You can serve this as a starter or mezze or as an accompaniment with main meal (adjust measurements accordingly).

I love labneh, especially in the summer. It adds a cool note to summer eating, as a herby highlight to chicken, or as a light mango dessert to end the day.

What I like about it is that it is incredibly versatile – you can serve it for breakfast, as a dip, or even with a ripe slice of melon on a hot summer's day. It pairs equally well with sweet and savoury flavours, and it makes a cooling accompaniment to spicy dishes as well.

Labneh is a soft cheese, similar in texture to cream cheese, made from strained yogurt and very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. At about half the fat and calories of standard cream cheese, it is a healthier alternative and has good-for-your-gut probiotics.

Making labneh is simple. It involves stirring salt into good quality full-fat plain yogurt, preferably the Greek variety, and then straining it through cheesecloth until it reaches the desired consistency. Tie the cheesecloth into a ball and set it in a sieve over a deep bowl for four hours.

The longer you let it strain, the thicker the labneh becomes — until it eventually reaches the texture of a block of cream cheese.

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Traditional Middle Eastern Labneh with a Roasted Garam Masala twist
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Radhika Howarth is a food consultant, nutritionist, digital content creator and a flavour enthusiast. In this ‘iGlobal’ column, she shares special treats from Radikal Kitchen – which stands for flavours without borders; her journey exploring, enjoying and experimenting with flavours and foods from around the world.

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