Shiraz Leban bi-Buqul (Thickened Yoghurt with Herbs)

It’s pronounced HHHHerbs…because there’s an H in it!  Waaay to much Eddie Izzard.  I just couldn’t resist.  I know, I should probably try harder but it’s just sooo much fun!  Any way, back to our regularly scheduled recipe addition.  Today is more yogurt, or yoghurt, and a bit of herb spicing.

Shiraz Laban Bi-Buqul

(Thickened yoghurt with herbs)

Translation:

Take mint, celery leaves and vegetable leeks and strip them all from their stalks and cut them up finely with the knife.  Throw them in the mortar, and, when they release liquid after pounding, dry them off.  Then mix them well with shiraz (yoghurt drained of whey).  Throw a little salt on it, as much as it will bear, and mustard pounded fine, and moderate its flavor with the mustard…If you like, put pounded walnuts on it.

Medieval Arab Cookery p. 398-399.

Ingredients:

1 C yogurt                                            1/3 C chopped mint

1 Leek                                                             salt to taste

1 ½ tsp ground brown mustard seed     1/8 tsp pepper

1/3 cup celery leaves chopped

My Redaction:

This recipe is extremely easy.  A little care needs to be taken when washing the leek but other then that the dish is pretty much just chop, mix and eat.

Yogurt spices

Leeks are grown in sandy muddy soil which collects in the upright leaves.  The dirt needs to be washed out of the leeks other wise you have a very gritty muddy dish.  Not everyone’s favorite.  When I chop a leek I cut of the roots and the dark green hard leaves, leaving me with the pale green and white sections.  These are cut into halves then halved again.   Then I slice the quarters into 1/8 inch pieces (roughly).  These are put into a bowl and rinsed with running water till there are no more blotches or sandy bits to be seen or felt.

Using only the light green and white part  doesn’t sound like a lot, however once the leek is sliced into smaller bits it sort of falls to pieces and fluffs up considerably.  You should get roughly 1/2 to 1 cup worth of chopped (no compressed) leek pieces from that small bit left over.

If leeks are not available or in season I have made do with shallots or a mild onion in a pinch.

The mustard seeds are ground.  I did use a mortar and pestle this time as only a little mustard seed was needed.  The mint was actually store bought.   For adding the mint I would suggest 1/2 of the called for recipe, taste, then add a bit at a time.  I like the minty flavor as it compliments the yogurt’s depth and the leeks mild onion.  The celery leaves were optional this time around; however I usually use the inner leaves found on a celery bunch’s heart.  Definitely a nice inclusion though.

Yogurt mix

Once everything has been prepped mix into a bowl and you are ready to consume!

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