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Shanklish (Aged Cheese)

Shanklish is a Middle Eastern aged cheese made from yoghurt whey and shaped into balls. Once matured, it is coated in dried thyme or chilli. These cheese balls are great by themselves but to really enjoy them, mix them with some chopped tomatoes and onions and drizzle generous amounts of olive oil.
Shanklish (Aged Cheese)

Preparation Time: 2 hours

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves : 20 balls


  • 2kg of Laban (or Greek Yoghurt if you don’t have any laban)
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1/4 cup of dried zaatar (not mixed with oil, and without sumac)






The Shanklish Ball

  1. In a large pot, place the laban (Greek yoghurt), the salt and the paprika and stir well together.
  2. Bring to boil for approximately 20 minutes.
  3. While waiting for the laban to boil, open a cheese cloth and put it inside a colander, and put the colander inside a bowl.
  4. Once the laban starts separating from its water by forming curds, transfer the laban and the water into the cheese cloth.
  5. Leave the laban to drain its water for around 20-25 minutes and then discard the water.
  6. Do not over drain (retain some moisture so that the balls can be shaped)
  7. To shape the shanklish, grab some of the yoghurt in one hand and use your other hand to cup and compress the yoghurt into a ball of your desired size (the same way you would shape a kafta or meatball).
  8. If the balls are not forming right and are crumbly, you can add a spoor or two of laban.
  9. Once you have finished creating all the shanklish balls, either sprinkle the zaatar over the ball generously so that it covers the whole ball, or tip all the zaatar onto a table and roll the shanklish into the zaatar.
  10. Once finished, you can either store them in a Tupperware if you plan to eat them within the week, or store them in a jar of olive oil in your cupboard for up to 3 months.

To serve

  • Crumble the shanklish into a bowl, and mix with chopped tomatoes, onions & a generous amount of olive oil!
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