Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites by Kamal Al-Faqih, includes recipes like Lentil Soup with Ruby Swiss Chard and Lemon (Adas bi Hamood); Lamb Kibbi Tray (Kibbi bi Saniyeh); Yogurt Cucumber Salad (Laban bi Khyar); and Lamb Turbans (Lahm bi Ajeen).
Laban bi Khyar (leb-ban bee khyar)
Serves 4 (About 1-1/2 cups)
The cool texture of the cucumber and the aromatic scent of the mint swimming in the garlic-infused yogurt is so refreshing. This salad is excellent with kibbi trays, Chicken with Spiced Rice (page 75 of the book), or Vegetable-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (page 161), to name a few combinations. It is similar to the Greek version known as tzatziki, the Persian variety called must-o-kheyar, and the Indian version called raita.
Specialty ingredients: Tahini, found in specialty markets or online.
Special equipment: A pestle (a garlic press will do).
Prepare ahead: The yogurt can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Add the cucumber as directed.For the Salad
(You can omit the tahini if you do not have it on hand. It serves as a binder.)
Place the garlic and salt in a medium bowl. Mash the garlic to a pulp using a pestle. Add the yogurt, tahini, and mint. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Peel the cucumber lengthwise, leaving every other peel of skin on the cucumber for a striped appearance. Quarter it lengthwise, then cut each quarter into pieces 1/4 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Add the cucumber to the yogurt mixture just before serving.
Choose narrow, firm ones with a solid green color and without signs of yellowing or puffiness. English cucumbers are an excellent choice for this salad.
This page created March 2010
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