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Sumptuous Sephardic Summertime Recipe: Rai’yeb b’Labaniyeh

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(Chilled Yogurt and Cucumber Soup)

This refreshing summer favorite tastes similar to cacik, Turkish cucumber and yogurt salad. Because of the silky texture of rai’yeb b’labaniyeh and its delightfully cool sensation on the gums, many elderly men and women in the Middle East subsist on this dish and flatbread. The soup is also a common food for teething babies. It is in immutable part of Syrian Jewish culture; old Aleppian Jewish women can be seen doting over their newborn great-grandchildren and sharing the same meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, chopped
(about ½ teaspoon)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup ice-cold milk or water
1 large cucumber, or 3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dried mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (optional)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill (optional)

Directions:
Combine the yogurt, garlic, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Gradually add the cold milk. Stir well. Add the cucumbers. Stir again and refrigerate.
Before serving, garnish with mint, and, if desired, scallions, dill, or both.
Yield: 8 Servings
The above recipe is reprinted with permission, from Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews.

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