You may have already dried our Labaneh dip with chili and walnuts. its delicious. its not hard to make labaneh, you just hang up some yoghurt in a muslin and go to sleep. Despite it being very easy, its even easier to just get some out of your fridge in the morning. So if you make a lot you can preserve some and they will last you months.
2 kg of natural yoghurt (if you prefer the taste of Greek yoghurt, use it)
1 tbsp good salt
for the toppings
2 tbsp za’atar
almost a litre of decent extra virgin olive oil
three sterilised airtight jars
1 large muslin / tea towel (this quantity is too heavy for a cheese cloth)
place a muslin over a large bowl and have an elastic band to hand
stir the salt into the yoghurt and pour the yoghurt into the middle of the muslin. gather the edges up and tie it together with the elastic band. you need to hang the muslin up, the idea being you are straining the liquid out of the yoghurt. i hang mine over the bowl on the counter-top by hanging it from a cupboard handle. you can tie it to a wooden spoon placed over a deep bowl or jug in the fridge, or hand it on your sink tap overnight. its up to you and your environment. you want this to hang for about 20 hours is possible. but some thicker yoghurts you will only need 16-18.
once it is drained and there is no more liquid coming out, unwrap the labaneh and in a bowl or some tupperware and put it in the fridge until you are ready to roll it.
finely chop half the walnuts and one chili with a knife- you don’t want it too tiny- and mix it into 2/3 of the labaneh and put it back in the fridge. you will now have two batches of labaneh; one plain and one chili and walnut.
in a food processor, chop the remaining walnuts then spread thinly over a plate. then finely chop the last chili and spread that over another plate.
ensuring you have cold hands by running them under a cold tap and then using water or olive oil on them to coat, start rolling the chili and walnut labaneh into balls about the side of a large walnut. as you finish a ball place it on the place of crushed nuts- most of the balls will go into the nut plate and 2-3 balls will go onto the chili. as the plate fills with balls coat the balls by rolling in the nuts and placing them into a sterilised glass jar. i get two jars out of this quantity which i fill with nuts labaneh balls and just one chili ball in each jar- its the perfect ratio.
wash your hands and the walnut and chili plates and set up a plate with the za’atar. repeat the process with the plain labaneh from the fridge and roll in the za’atar and place into a separate jar. once you are finished you will have three jars- two of chili and walnut and one of zatar. once you have your three jars of colourful labaneh balls, fill up the jars with extra virgin olive oil by carefully pouring it down the inside side of the jar (this limits the oil knocking any coating off the balls). you can then get a few out at a time of breakfast, snacks or mazza.
(if you don’t fancy rolling balls, you can actually just mix the toppings into the labaneh, fill up the jar with labaneh and then cover with the olive oil to seal and preserve. you then just get out as much as you want at a time, ensuring what is left in is covered in oil. this method also uses less oil but with keep for months just like the balls)
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