If you haven’t caught on to the labneh trend yet, then shake up you kitchen cred and show your family and friends that you know a thing or two about this Middle Eastern cream cheese and its potential for reinventing familiar menus.
You’ll have to know the background though, because they’ll definitely ask “What’s labneh?”
Well, it’s cream cheese, but not the way they know it. Firstly, it is traditionally strained from yoghurt and has a particular tang and texture that elevates it above ordinary cream cheese, without actually tasting like yoghurt.
So, here are some ways to use Great Balls of Labneh for effect in your summer menus.
1. Bedouin Café & Deli at the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village make their own preservative-free signature labneh cheese in five flavours - pepper, garlic, chilli, mint and original – and labneh features in all of their dishes. Most tantalizing is the use of labneh as a dumpling in their tomato soup. Yum!
2. Who doesn’t like a bit of chip ‘n dip? Labneh makes for a great dip. Mix it with some roasted red pepper, or some spinach and you are sure to have a party favourite.
3. Spread some labneh on a bagel, or add a creamy tang to homemade hamburgers. Use labneh on your sandwiches in place of butter to add an exciting twist.
4. Labneh is great in salads, as award-winning restaurant Bistrot Bizerca has shown with its delicious summer beetroot salad. Savour at Protea Hotel 15 On Orange, uses labneh in its smoked salmon salad, and over at Bedouin, they roll the labneh into even smaller balls that match the girth of the yummy chickpeas that form the basis of their chickpea salad.
Or you could just roll the labneh into small balls and sprinkle them on a top of a fresh salad for an added flavour burst. Oh, and don’t waste the delicious oil the labneh is preserved in: drizzle it over the salad for an easy and tasty dressing.
5. Labneh gives sauces new layers of yum. Use it to thicken an Alfredo sauce, or add some extra moisture to pesto penne. Not only can you use it in pasta sauces but this great cheese works for any kinds of sauces you want to add a little tang to. Labneh in gravy? Go on, give it a whirl.
Reprinted with permission of Bedouin Cafe and Deli.