Fresh labna rolled in my zaatar with radish and chilli

Karen Martini
Serve with grilled bread when guests drop by.
Serve with grilled bread when guests drop by. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Fresh labna balls are great to have on hand when guests drop in. Just remember to remove them from the fridge 15 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Roll the balls in a little zaatar and serve with grilled bread, crispbread or fresh Turkish bread and your favourite pickles.


* Labna must be prepared 24 hours in advance.


4 cups thick plain yoghurt

100ml canola oil

100ml virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced


150g (1 cup) toasted blanched almonds, crushed

40g (2 tbsp) sesame seeds

30g (4 tsp) ground cumin

5g (1 tsp) cumin seeds

10g (2 tsp) sumac

5g (1/2 tsp) ground black pepper

50g wild thyme (dried thyme is fine if you can't get wild)

Pinch ground cardamom

Sliced radishes and green chillies to serve


1. Drain the yoghurt in the refrigerator for 24 hours in a fine sieve lined with a clean Chux or muslin cloth suspended over a bowl to catch the whey.

2. After 24 hours, and with well-oiled hands, tip out the yoghurt. It should
be one firm ball. Pinch off piece of labna and roll into balls about the size of a 20¢ piece. Blend the oils together. Place balls in a flat-sided dish with garlic, pour blended oil over and store, covered,
in the refrigerator.

3. Mix all the zaatar ingredients really well in a dry bowl. Use an airtight container to store.

4. To serve the labna balls, lift out of the oil and drain well. Roll in the zaatar and serve with slightly warmed
or soft fresh bread, sliced radishes and green chillies.

Drink Fresh mint tea or beer