“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.”
Cucumber, Yogurt & Mint Salad
Shortly after leaving home for college I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. I decided to make yogurt as I had grown up watching my Sittoo make. Seemed simple enough; a culture (rowbee, or more simply a few tablespoons of commercial yogurt), milk, heat and time. What could possibly go wrong?
What I quickly learned was that pinky fingers of grandmothers used as thermometers were infinitely more accurate than the slightly more tender pinky of a teenage girl. And so the time component of the equation was the one part that was rather out of my control, and not from an allowing the yogurt to set perspective but rather a letting of one’s pinky finger toughen with age.
Simple it should have been, and now of course I see how simple it truly was. Sometimes just a little experience (read:time) needs to be added. Simple is something I strive for in my everyday life; in the kitchen and everywhere else for that matter.
Sometimes things are so simple and such a part of our everyday lives we barely even notice them. In fact it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I was taking for granted some of the most delicious and under appreciated recipes in my very own repertoire. Just because it’s simple does not mean it’s boring. Some things just do not require re-imagining. The perpetual re-inventing and altering of classic recipes isn’t ALWAYS the right answer. More often than not, a return to originality is woefully under utilized.
Cucumber Leban is one of those things. I suspect that I’ve been eating it as long as I have been eating solid foods. I’ve always joked that I was weaned on garlic, but the truth is that it was more accurately some combination of garlic and yogurt.
I leave you with this classic and painfully simple Lebanese dish I grew up calling Cucumber Leban which we enjoyed on everything from meat and rice or simply as a crisp and fresh side salad enjoyed with a strip torn from a freshly baked loaf of pita.
Enjoy & Namaste!
- 1 - 750 gram container plain yogurt (any fat content will work)
- 1 large cucumber (peeled and seeded if skin is tough or seeds are a few too many)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBSP dried mint
- fresh mint to garnish
- Combine all ingredients and serve!
- HINT... It's a perfect match with The Best Pilaf Rice Ever