Okay, so you're going to love this. It's a type of homemade Lebanese cheese that is easy to make and super flavorful. It is different from labneh (which is simply strained yogurt) in that it is cooked. It's more along the lines of a homemade Italian ricotta or Indian paneer, only instead of being made with just milk it is made with yogurt...and this is what gives it such a lovely tangy flavor. Herbs and spices are often added to it either as it cooks or shortly thereafter (smoked paprika is my personal addition, and if you do not care for spicy food omit the crushed hot pepper). And then after it is formed, the balls are rolled in an herb and spice blend known as za'atar (which is usually available at most Middle Eastern or ethnic grocers. Anyhow, the resulting cheese is truly addicting. It can be eaten as is, or also as a salad topped with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, parley and a liberal coating of good quality olive oil.


(Lebanese Yogurt Cheese)

Makes about 2 dozen small balls

3 quarts plain yogurt

1 cup water

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

za'atar seasoning for coating

Combine everything except the za'atar in a heavy pot. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring only a few times. When the curds separates from the whey strain it through a colander that has been lined with cheese cloth. When the cheese is cool enough to handle, shape it into small balls (for a smoother texture pulse the mixture in a food processor first). Dust a plate with za'atar and roll the shanklish in the spice to coat them. Refrigerate before serving.

Urban Simplicity.


Felix Lee said…
This looks really mouth-watering. I love Lebanese cheese though this one's something new to me.
Joe George said…
Felix, if you like Mediterranean food you should try's really easy to make and really delicious :)