Have you heard about Labneh? Its been around for basically forever, but it seems lately labneh is everywhere. I’m seeing it used in recipes all over the internet, our local dairy has just started selling it, and most recently Quidee’s husband used it as filling in these delicious little fried pouches to go with drinks.
So what is it? It is very simply yogurt which has had the whey strained away, leaving it with a thicker creamier texture, very similar to cream cheese. The name “labneh” is the Arabic word for it but you may also hear it called “stained curd”, “hung curd”, or even “yogurt cheese”.
In these crispy deep-fried pockets, we have chosen to mix the strained curd with peppers, onions, dill and a few spices, but really you can mix up whatever flavours you like. The pocket is surprisingly just made from plain white bread, but its crispness combined with the creamy filling is pure magic. If you are planning to make these for a party you might want to double the batch … they won’t last long.
Crispy Labneh Pockets
This recipe makes 8 to 10 pockets. Assembly and cook time is about 10 to 15 minutes, however the yogurt must be strained in advance for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours.
|2 cups||Plain yogurt|
|¼ cup||Finely Diced Onion|
|¼ cup||Finely Diced Red Bell Pepper|
|1 tbsp.||Chopped Fresh Dill|
|¼ tsp.||Cumin Seed|
|¼ tsp.||Chili Powder|
|8 to 10 slices||Sliced White Bread|
|+||Additional Oil for Deep Frying|
- Strain the yogurt by pouring it into a piece of cheesecloth, gather the sides of the cloth and knot it, then suspend it above the sink. Strain for 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, suspend above a bowl and strain overnight in the refrigerator.
- Finely dice the red pepper and onion.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a skillet, then sauté the pepper and onion for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- At this time, you should begin to heat your frying oil, either in a deep pot on the stove or in a deep fryer.
- Remove the crust from the bread and using a rolling-pin, roll the bread as thin as possible. You want to remove all the air from the bread so it does not absorb the oil during frying.
- Prepare the filling; to a small mixing bowl add the strained yogurt, cumin seed, salt, chili powder, dill, peppers and onions. Fold until combined.
- Put 1 ½ to 2 tbsp. of the filling in the center of each piece of bread.
- Use your finger or a basting brush dipped in water to slightly moisten the edge of the bread.
- Fold over the bread and seal the edge using a fork.
- Check that the oil is hot by dropping in a small piece of the bread crust. It should immediately begin to bubble and quickly turn golden brown.
- When the oil is ready, gently place the pockets in the oil. Fry two at a time so as not to crowd the pot.
- Fry for 10 to 12 seconds on one side then flip and fry the other side. Total fry time should only take about 25 seconds to achieve an even deep golden color.
- Remove from fryer. Let cool 3 to 4 minutes before serving.