What is Meze?
Meze (mezze) are small dishes served across the Mediterranean and Middle East. Like Spanish Tapas, they comprise tasty combinations of flavour, texture and colour. Mezze can be in the form of simple salads and dips, single ingredients like olives or pickles, cheeses and fruit and rich meat, poultry and seafood can all be incorporated too. The idea is that the table is covered with dishes that can be mixed into countless taste combinations. Meze can be served as appetisers or as the main course – see below for my meze meal plan suggestion.
Yoghurt & Cheese - the perfect combination
Haydari comprises two key ingredients; yoghurt and soft white cheese.
- Strained yoghurt = (süzme yoğurt) is a yoghurt that has been hung in muslin to drain it of its excess moisture (see how below). The results create a thick, dense and creamy consistency. Labneh is often used too. Alternatively, I've found great creamy off-the-shelf options, like Siggis Plain Yoghurt which is perfect straight out of the pot.
- Beyaz Peynir - is a soft white brine cheese produced from unpasteurized sheep, cow or goat milk. It has a sharp, salty flavour. You can find this in many Mediterranean or Middle Eastern Delicatessens. Greek Feta is a very close match and the cheese I use in this recipe. Just be sure to choose a soft feta that can be easily mashed with a fork.