Monday, March 28, 2011

Lebaneh! Approved by 3 out of 3 Jordanian kitties

Lebaneh – or Labneh – is a very common food in the Middle East. It is, very simply, yogurt that’s had the whey strained out, leaving behind a smooth white product about the thickness/consistency of cream cheese or sour cream.

What can it be used for? I put it on bread, usually. Sometimes for breakfast I’ll have a bagel or flat bread, some lebaneh, a little dish of olive oil, and a little dish of zaatar (a spice mix – with oregano, thyme, basil, sumac sesame, etc. it can vary…) and I’ll enjoy my bread dipped in some or all of these things. I will also put lebaneh on rice dishes, lamb, other grilled meats, etc. I have even substituted it for sour cream when I had no sour cream and it’s pretty good on baked potatoes.

It’s good, and because it’s yogurt, it’s good for you! Well, at least it is according to the internet and all sorts of folk who like to brag about it. Wiki says this:
“…strained yogurt has become increasingly popular because it is richer in texture than unstrained yogurt, but low in fat; since straining removes water and dissolved salts and sugars, by volume, it has twice the protein of regular yogurt and less sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar.”
Sounds good to me, and it tastes great! What more could you ask for in a simple food product? Honor also discovered recently, that these guys approve of it too.
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10 comments:

Bryn said...

It sounds so yummy! that is something I love about the FS...you get to try all different kinds of foods. Enjoy it while you can, right?!

bettyl said...

Well, if the kittens like it, that's good enough for me!!

Connie said...

It is yummy! That is the good thing, and the bad thing about FS life... you find all these good foods, and unless you learn how to make it, you're outta luck when you move! The kids miss Egyptian koshari (rice, lentils, and pasta with tomato sauce on top) so much that I make it myself now. I need to figure out Jordanian mansaf (a lamb and rice dish). I've already got the mint lemonade! :)

Connie said...

Betty - These cats will eat veggies, if they have lebaneh on them!

Connie said...

(um... meaning lebaneh on the veggies, not the cats, but they might like that too...)

Just US said...

That is what that stuff is!! I have been wondering but had no idea!! It is super yummy and thanks for more ideas on how to use it in our daily diet :)

Daniela Swider said...

I am originally from Bulgaria and yogurt, strained or not, is huge there. Depending on who you ask it originated there and one of the yogurt bacteria is named after the country. Long story short, there are a lot of Bulgarian dishes with yogurt but my favorite is Snezhanka (means Snow White) - strained yogurt, diced cucumbers, dill, garlic, plus salt, oil and vinegar to taste. It's so good (and good for you) that I can eat that every day for the rest of my life.

Connie said...

Daniela - that sounds delicious! I tend to just eat it plain, or with the zaatar wzeit (herb mix & olive oil), or cucumbers and mint. I'll have to try snezhanka too... next time I find dill! Do you use raw garlic? Or cooked or powder? And what about the vinegar? Any special type? For preserving cucumbers, and because it made a refreshing salad on a hot summer day, we'd mix plain white vinegar, and water, to soak onions and cucumbers, but of course, balsamic is good on other salads, so what do you recommend? (funny how a simple condiment can be so complicated!)

Connie said...

Just US - we had rice and lamb cubes last night. The local grocery store sells the meat in a marinade 'for bbq'. I sauteed it with a little extra BBQ sauce. I also made white rice, but because I didn't want it too plain, I dumped in a bunch of biryani spices and cinnamon while it cooked. It only gives it a little flavor. The lebaneh was great with the rice and the meat. I'd have never thought to try mixing what is basically yogurt with so many foods, but straining the whey makes it creamy, yet it still retains a bit of a tang. It seems to go with meat and rice well no matter how you spice or sauce it.

Jill said...

Oh do I miss all the Mediterranean food that I grew to love living overseas. It's just NOT the same here.