Search This Blog

Friday, September 16, 2011

Perfect Breakfast: Labneh with Mint & Olive Oil

If you close your eyes and daydream of a bedouin tent in the middle of the desert, sun-kissed by a ball of fire, you might see the cosiness inside: a simple decor consisting mainly of Iranian-style carpets, cushions, trays of tea and semolina cakes bathed in rose water and loaded with pistachios and nuts. This scene could seem more or less idyllic, but it's certainly very close to reality.  Bedouins do exist as a desert-dwelling ethnic group in the Middle East and northern Africa and they are renowned for their hospitality, generosity, friendliness, and simple lifestyle. 
Breakfast is also defined by its sheer simplicity: labneh with extra virgin olive oil and fresh tamis. 

Labneh is a one of life's delicious treats that I discovered in Saudi Arabia. I have also found it in gourmet Arab traditional shops, but the price is steep. Labneh is sold either as spreadable cheese or in jars: small lebnah balls floating in a sea of rich olive oil. Traditionally, labneh is made of goat's milk; however,  I used rich sheep & cow's milk yoghurt (7% fat) which I strained overnight. In the morning, I used an ice-cream scoop to make labneh balls, drizzled olive oil over them, and sprinkled fresh mint on top. Delicious with fresh ciabatta and a cup of strong Arabica with cardamon!

Rich Strained Yoghurt with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Crushed Mint

1 kg of 7-8% fat yoghurt

a handful of fresh mint

extra virgin olive oil 


Type of cuisine: Middle Eastern

Preparation: 12 hours

As its definition suggests, labneh is strained yoghurt, aka yoghurt cheese. To make labneh you need the following: 


a clean cloth/muslin  

a colander

a plate to keep the excess water

Line the colander with a clean cloth (which you have boiled to kill all possible germs). Pour the yoghurt in the cloth and let it strain overnight.  I used no salt as I wanted to have the option of having sweet labneh as well.

In the morning roll the cheese out of the cloth and store it in tuppeware. It will keep well for a couple of days in the fridge.

To make labneh balls scoop the cheese and place them on the plate. Sprinkle with olive oil and fresh crushed mint. It is absolutely delicious and goes perfectly with fresh bread, tamis or toasted ciabatta, believe it or not. 

Later, I will revamp and transform this delicious savoury dish into a sweet delight. Stay tuned :)

Until then, enjoy these beautiful photos (for which I take no credit) that will put this stunning - but easy - dish on the map.

 Inside a Bedouin Tent

Photographer:Gary Latham  source:
A smoky start to the day as a Bedouin tribesman cooks breakfast at camp near Wadi Razarah

Egypt In the Bedouin Tent Photograph - Egypt In the Bedouin tent 




  1. i could go on and on about my love for labneh. it's really the perfect breakfast. :)

  2. It is not long ago that I discovered Labneh and I love it.Why not will start loving from teh breakfast time.Greta combination:)

  3. really like this. Keep up the good work. Your blog is fantastic. I really appreciate it. I also wrote a blog on Travel and tourism. Just take a look. If you have some suggestions let me know because, you are very good in blogging. Thanksbest desert safari