Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Yummy Yoghurt

We seem to eat a lot of yoghurt at my house, a large bucket every week and only buy plain, natural yoghurt. I often use it in Indian style curries, with tahini and garlic for a delicious garlic sauce for lamb wraps, or for breakfast with the cereal and fruit.

One of my favourite uses is to strain the yoghurt. During the straining process the whey drains out and the resulting curd or yoghurt is much thicker and creamier. To this base add chopped fresh fruit and enjoy as you would any of the flavoured yoghurts. It is also fantastic for cucumber/tzatzike dip as it remains thick and easy to scoop up onto the bread and as an alternative to cream or icecream with fruit desserts.

Tzatkiki with flatbread
 You can also use the thick yoghurt to make a type of cheese. In the Middle East this is referred to as Labne(h). This cheese is often flavoured with fresh herbs or rolled into small balls and then the balls rolled in finely chopped fresh herbs. Sometimes it is flavoured with a small amount of salt, although I never bother. The cheese balls can be stored in jar in oil for a week or so.

I particularly enjoy it with fresh fruit, fresh berries and mango are delicious or with poached or slow roasted stone fruits. Slow roasted quince for a Middle eastern style dessert. Serve with yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and chopped pistachios. A little vanilla extract stirred through the yoghurt is nice for dessert, as is rosewater if you like that flavour. Honey, maple syrup  can be drizzled over the yoghurt for additional sweetness as could syrup leftover from cooking the fruit. Pour the syrup around the bottom of the plate.

Thick yoghurt, fresh berries and Chia seeds
Thick yoghurt, poached white peaches and vanilla syrup,
fresh raspberries and Chia seeds 

How to make Strained or Thick Yoghurt

Line a sieve with with a double layer of muslin/ cheesecloth. I purchase from Spotlight and  reuse.* Place the sieve over a large bowl as once the yoghurt is added it will start to drip.

Add yoghurt. I allow twice as much yoghurt as I think I will need and usually spoon in at least two cups, often much more. Gather up the ends, tie with string or use a rubber band. The yoghurt will form a ball and the tails can be used to hang/suspend the yoghurt. It is not essential to suspend it, the yoghurt can be left in the lined sieve.

Place yoghurt in fridge. Make sure that if you have a bowl underneath to catch the whey that drips out. I suspend it from the wire racks of my fridge.

Yoghurt can be suspended for a  few hours or overnight. If you want it very thick suspend for two days.

Empty/remove the bowl containing the drained whey. Remove the yoghurt from the muslin. Use as desired. Store in fridge.

*If reusing muslin make sure that it washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried. I like to rinse the cloth, then boil it for a few minutes and then put in the washing machine. I reuse the muslin until it has so many holes it will no longer do the job.


2 cups/500ml yoghurt, strained overnight
1 lebanese cucumber, skin on, deseeded and grated or finely diced*.
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
2-3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
generous pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together and place in serving dish.
If wanted the mixture can be strained again, however, I do not do this.
*I usually leave the skin on, however at the moment, the homegrown cucumbers have a very thick tough skin that is not so good to eat.


  1. yoghurt now hanging in fridge, no muslin available so in the spirit of make do and mend using very old thin tea towel..

    1. Well done Barbara, Great to see that you too have a stash of things that you can put to other uses. I will be interested to hear how it works and what you do with your yoghurt.