For the February daring cooks challenge,Manal from Manal’s Bites invited us to celebrate the most important meal of the day Middle Eastern style!
Traditional breakfast in the Middle East seems to be such a wholesome meal what with all the fresh dips and salads, lots of olive oils and spices it has. I've never been to visit the area except for the few plane changes in Abu Dhabi. So I was quite surprised to know that hummus is for breakfast! In our house it's a dip for snacks. The salad is very similar to the Greek one especially because I used feta cheese since I can't find halloumi any where near us.
What a revelation these dishes were so thank you is in order to the Daring Cooks and Manal for coming up with this interesting challenge. For one, it's my first time to make soft cheese. As expected, it's delectable. While for the hummus, I never thought fried pitta bread would be great dipped in it.
The labaneh cheese is easy enough to make though I don't have a big enough cheese cloth for the whole lot. So I just put them in small little bundles. I didn't have any place to hang them so I put them in a colander over a bowl to catch the drips.
Speaking of cheese cloth (they are also called muslin cloth), if you buy them from kitchen shops they're quite expensive. I just realised recently that I could buy them cheaper from baby shops. You see, the cotton cloth nappies (diapers) are made of muslin cotton! Ha! That's my bargain tip of the day.
1 recipe of Hummus
reserved chickpea water or plain water
salt and lemon juice
pine nuts (optional)
cooked chickpeas (optional)
chopped mint or coriander or parsley
- Cut pitta bread into big chunks (about 1-inch square). Fry in olive oil.
- Scatter at the bottom of a serving bowl.
- [Optional] Fry pine nuts briefly in a pan with olive oil until brown and aromatic.
- [Optional] Sprinkle water with lemon juice and salt on the fried pitta bread.
- Pour hummus on top. Serve sprinkled with chopped herbs, fried pine nuts and chickpeas (if using). Drizzle a little olive oil on top.
1 kg natural full-fat Greek style yoghurt
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp fine sea salt
cheese cloth (muslin cloth)
- Dissolve salt in the water.
- Add the yoghurt. Stir to mix well.
- Put the yoghurt mix in the cheese cloth, tie up and hang (or put in a colander over a bowl) to drain the water. Hang this for about 24 hours.
- The labaneh cheese is now ready. Serve with olive oil and chilli powder or za'taar sprinkled on top.
2 big red tomatoes - chopped into about 1/2-inch pieces
1 12-inch cucumber - chopped into about 1/2-inch pieces
3 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cubed halloumi or nabulsi or feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves (or coriander or parsley)
1/2 cup chopped red onion or 2 green onions - chopped
- Mix together the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and cheese in a serving bowl.
- Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil.
- Sprinkle the chopped herbs on top.