Cooked Laban


        1 1/4 quarts laban
        1 eggwhite
        1 Tbsp. cornstarch
        1 tsp. salt
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.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)