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Summer coolers: Laban for lunch

18 May 2021

Laban, the most welcome, cooling yogurt-based summer drink, can be incorporated into your meals in many interesting ways, to aid digestion, cool your system, as well as sustain you well when the hot climate takes a toll on your appetite. The markets in Oman are these days flooded with a range of brands that offer laban – plain or flavoured – in many convenient containers. You can stock them in your refrigerator or carry them to the workplace, even keep them handy in cool-boxes in your car for a quick swig during your journey. Here are a few recipes for using laban as a main ingredient in your dishes for lunch:






For the gravy

3 cups of laban

½ cup gram flour (besan)

½tsp turmeric powder

2 green chillies – slit

1tsp julienned ginger

1 sprig of coriander leaves – for garnish


For the tempering

1 sprig curry leaves

1tsp mustard

1tsp cumin

1tsp coriander seeds

1 red chilli – broken to bits

1tsp julienned ginger

2tbsp oil


For the pakoras

1 onion – sliced fine

1tbsp chopped coriander

1 green chilli – minced

½ cup gram flour

½tsp salt

A pinch of asafoetida

Oil for deep frying



First, make the pakoras. Mix the gram flour in ¾ cup water to make a smooth paste, add all  the other ingredients, and mix well. Heat oil for deep frying in a wok and drop spoonfuls of the batter to make marble-sized fritters. Remove when golden brown and set aside.

Now, prepare the besan and laban mixture. In a bowl, combine the laban, gram flour, turmeric, and salt. Gradually add 1 cup of water and mix it all together. Cook this mixture in a pot on a medium flame. Add the ginger and green chillies and lower the flame when it begins to boil. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add a little water if you find it too thick. The kadhi is ready.


For the tempering, heat oil in a non-stick pan and add mustand seeds, cumin

seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves, ginger, dry red chilli, and asafoetida.

When the ingredients begin to splutter, pour the tempering over the laban

kadhi. Add the fried pakoras to this kadhi and stir lightly. Serve hot/warm in

bowls garnished with coriander leaves. This dish can be had by itself or with steamed rice/rotis.


Laban Khiyar

(Lebanese yoghurt-cucumber dip)


2 cups thick laban

2 cucumbers – diced finely

2 garlic cloves

½tsp sea salt

2tsp chopped mint leaves

few mint leaves for garnish

zest of half lemon

1tbsp fresh lemon juice


With a mortar and pestle, grind your salt and garlic cloves until a paste forms.

Take a large bowl, pour in the laban, add the cucumber, crushed garlic and

salt, chopped mint leaves and lemon juice. Mix well and garnsh with mint

Leaves. Serve chilled for lunch, as an accompaniment or main dish, to suit

your appetite.


Boondi Raita



1 cup fresh laban

1 cup yoghurt

1cup boondi (ready from store)

¼tsp red chilli powder

¼tsp salt

1 sprig of coriander leaves



Soak the boondi in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. (Reserve 2tbsp boondi, unsoaked, for garnish).  Then, grab the soaked boondi with your palm, lightly squeeze out excess water and set aside in a plate. Discard the water. Now, combine the laban, yoghurt, and salt in a bowl to get a smooth, thick mixture. Add the soaked boondi and mix well. Sprinkle chilli powder on top, then garnish with the unsoaked boondi and coriander leaves. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving



Mango Lassi



2 ripe alphonso mangoes

4 cups fresh laban

5-6 ice cubes


For garnish

1tsp chopped pistachios

Few mint leaves



Peel and chop up the mangoes. In a blender, combine the laban, mango chunks and ice cubes to get a refreshing smoothie. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with chopped pistachios and mint leaves. For an interesting option,reserve a few pieces of the mango and top up each glass with a few pieces. A big mug of mango lassi serves well as a substitute for lunch in summer.

Note: If mangoes are not available, replace with 1 cup of sweetened mango pulp.

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