Khyar bi laban is a wonderfully delicious, refreshing, cold “soup” which I LOVE in the summer. The Arabs have really discovered something here. It is so simple, pure, fresh, nutritious, and did I mention, delicious. Make it in five minutes, and enjoy it for time immemorial… “
Yallah.” (“Let’s go!” in Arabic)
Assemble the ingredients: three medium sized fresh cucumbers three medium sized fresh garlic cloves one quart fresh yogurt 1 tablespoonful dried mint (some use dill) 1 teaspoonful kosher salt
As with many other recipes, crush the fresh garlic under your heavy French knife.
Chop the garlic prior to grinding in the mortar and pestle.
Add the chopped garlic to the mortar and pestle.
Add one teaspoonful of salt (using Kosher salt here, as a gesture of brotherhood with the Israelis…) You may want 1 1/5 tsp. salt, depending on your tastes.
Using the salt as a grinding agent, grind the garlic well in the mortar and pestle until well blended.
Add 1 tablespoonful of dried mint to the mortar and pestle, grind well. (You may want to rub through a strainer first to remove stems.)
Add a small amount of yogurt to the mortar, and grind to suspend the garlic, etc.
Optional: Peel the cucumbers. (Usually I do not, since I do not mind the skins. In fact, I think they add both esthetic and possibly nutritional components.
Slice the cucumbers in a “mandolin” to produce thin slices. Alternatively, slice thinly with a French knife (etc.). (Be kind to your knuckles.)
Combine the macerated seasonings in a large bowl with the yogurt and mandolined cucumbers. Stir.
Chill. Serve in an attractive bowl, a cup into each individual bowl, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.