A number of favorite Lebanese dishes call for laban in
somewhat the same way as sour cream is used elsewhere. Laban
can be successfully cooked but this must be done carefully for
it curdles easily on account of its delicate acid balance. Laban
made from goat's milk (Laban Ma'aza) can be boiled satis-
factorily with only the addition of salt. Cow's milk laban must
be stabilized with starch and eggwhite.
Two rules always apply. Laban must not be covered during
cooking, and it must be stirred in one direction only. Lebanese
cooks say that one "gets the feel" of cooking laban just as one
learns to make good bread.
Force laban through a fine strainer. Mix well with other
ingredients, always stirring in the same direction. Cook over a
high fire until well heated and lower the fire as the mixture
starts to bubble. Boil gently until it is of a rich, creamy con-
sistency resembling gravy. It is now ready to be combined
with meat or vegetables.
- 1 1/4 quarts laban
- 1 eggwhite
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. salt
(From Food from the Arab World Marie
Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)