Shafoot is a spicy and savory yogurt salad dish which is usually eaten during the lunchtime meal, especially in Sanaa. Its made from a base of the spongy sourdough lahooh bread and served with a side of greens and zahawiq. The first couple of times I tried this dish, I wasnt crazy about it, mostly because I was used to eating yogurt paired with sweet dishes or in desserts. But now I realize the beauty of plain unsweetened yogurt and I prefer it most times over the super sugary varieties which are so ubiquitous on the supermarket shelves. Shafoot has even become one of my favorite Yemeni dishes. It is so unique and I dont think I have seen a similar dish anywhere! (If you do know of something, please share it with us below) Anyway, Im betting if you have never tried shafoot before, you too could become a shafoot convert.The best ingredient to use in this if you are in Yemen or in the nearby region is called bayaa which looks like green onions but it is distinct in flavor. They dont have this where I live in the States, (nor do I even know what it is called in English) so I use green bell pepper instead. You can also use the type of green onions which are really common and found everywhere, but I find they give it a bitter tasteIf you are going to be making Saltah on the same day, you can use the same recipe for the bisbas/khurda and use a few tablespoons in the hulba and a few tablespoons in the laban for the shafoot. I know there seems to be so many steps to some recipes, but a lot of the ingredients are the same so there are ways to cut corners to save time in preparation. :)One more note, if you dont have ready-made lahooh on hand, you can substitute regular khubz, the standard middle eastern flatbread, and tear it up in small pieces, letting it soak in the yogurt. However, the lahooh is really the best because of its slightly sour taste and spongy texture which soaks up the yogurt. Yum!
Note about the ingredients: This recipe shows the ingredients for extra khudra, you don't need to add all of the greens to the yogurt-it will be way too much. You can store extra in the fridge for 3 days. Add only a little bit at a time, until the yogurt turns light green. If you wants to increase the recipe, just make sure you have equal parts yogurt and milk and add more greens.
1. Coarsely chop the bell pepper, chilies, garlic, and cilantro and place in a blender with the cumin until finely ground. You can also use a mortar and pestle to crush the ingredients into a paste, this actually gives is a better taste and is the preferred way in many Yemeni homes. But ah, the blender is so convenient…
2. In the meantime, stir the yogurt first so there are no lumps and then add the milk.
3. Add the blended greens a tablespoon at a time until you get a light green color-like mint ice cream. Test it to see if the spiciness is to your liking. Add a pinch of taste to taste.
4. Place the lahooh in one or 2 layers in a shallow dish. Pour the yogurt mix over the lahooh and let it sit for a couple minutes before serving so the bread absorbs the liquid.
5.Serve with fresh salad and zahawig.