I came back from this magical middle eastern restaurant couple days back. This place has the hustle and bustle of a crammed l train in Chicago on the weekends and every night in Ramadan(Muslim holiday based on lunar activity). So it was nice to go on a weeknight and have a little leg room at the dining table. Our family was fashionably late an hour after the reservation time but no one really cared since they weren’t packed. We ordered 2 big platters that mostly everyone orders because it’s pocket friendly and feeds about a good 5-6 people. It consists of a really thin bread at the bottom, rice, there’s 2 kinds one that tastes like spanish rice and the other yellow rice that most people are accustomed to at a Middle Eastern restaurant (spanish one is my fave!), and then all sorts of meat at the top: lamb, quail, chicken, and beef kabob. Beef kabob is my favorite at any restaurant and even at home. And lol restaurant politics they don’t serve lamb on quiet days with the platter even though it’s on the menu, according to them they ran out, economically speaking they sell it for $15-20 separately so they can’t include their highest price point meat in a platter that serves their meat in bulk. Anywayssssss I’m getting into the logistics of it too much, back to the point. For starters they serve hummus, pita, and FINALLY after years of eating there I figured out what the white dip was: labaneh. Labaneh is my favorite, I eat the entire thing on my own….I HAVE to share it sometimes. It’s tangy, creamy, and basically everything you could want in your mouth. So I go back home craving more and went on a rampage to make some for myself. No questions asked I headed straight to my second home, the grocery store.
- 2 7 oz fage greek yogurt cups
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tspn lemon juice
- Pinch of Paprika
- Pinch of Zatar (spice blend of sumac, sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, and cumin)
Mix yogurt, salt, and lemon juice together and set aside. Set cheesecloth in a sieve and set the sieve over a bowl. Add yogurt to your cheesecloth (do not fold your cheesecloth, you want the yogurt to strain well, so just add it to one layer unfolded). Cover the top of the yogurt with the rest of the cheesecloth and chill in the fridge for 24-48 hours. The longer you let it strain, the thicker the consistency. I strained and chilled my labneh for 24 hours and I thought the consistency was just right.