Michelin-starred and popular TV chef, Paul Merrett, shares his flavourful Homemade labneh with sumac, pomegranate & basil from his new book, Spice Odyssey.
450g Greek yogurt
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sumac
a few small basil leaves
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
warm pitta bread, to serve
You will also need a large square of clean muslin
Line a deep bowl with a sheet of clean muslin. In a separate bowl, stir the yogurt and salt together. Pour the salted yogurt into the muslin cloth and tie the excess muslin with string so that the yogurt is contained within it. Hang the muslin bag over a bowl - if your fridge has racking rather than glass shelves, this should be easy; however, if, like me, you didn't consider labneh production when buying your fridge, I suggest you tie the muslin bag to a wooden spoon and balance the spoon over a bowl (nifty, eh?).
Leave to drain for at least 24 hours (I occasionally give it a little squeeze of encouragement) or until much of the liquid has drained out and the remaining yogurt in the muslin is thick and fairly dry but still creamy.
It's worth noting that people are not given their own plate of labneh - they barge, stretch and jostle to get their share. Spoon the labneh into the centre of a serving plate and use the back of a spoon to spread it out into a circle. Sprinkle a generous line of sumac right across the plate.
Cut the pomegranate in half and remove the seeds, then scatter these randomly over the labneh. Dot about the basil leaves, drizzle over the olive oil and serve with warm pitta bread.
These recipes were taken from Spice Odyssey by Paul Merrett, published by Kyle Books at £19.99.