ماست و خیار Mast-o-khiar is a delicious, cooling and very popular Persian dish that is served with most meals. You will find the combination of yogurt and cucumbers in Greece (Tsatziki), but also in many other Balkan and Arabic countries and as well from Turkey to India (Raita).
The use of rose petals (fresh or dried) and rosewater for cooking was popular all over the Middle East and spread to Europe during the Middle Ages. However rosewater had been replaced by vanilla once world exploration had been brought from America to Europe.
About 20 years ago we planted in our garden a very strong scented white and red striped rose, since then its petals had been used in our cooking for several sweet recipes and we prepared hundreds of rose jam jars.
The basic ingredients for Mast-o-Khiar are yogurt, cucumber, mint, rose petals, salt and garlic. Other herbs can be added as well as chopped walnuts and raisins.
Tip: skip the cucumber for a delicious sauce for salad.
Mast-o-Khiar - Persian Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup Greek or Balcan yogurt ( better 7-10% but you may also use the 2% fat reduced quality)
- 100 g (about ¾ cup) chopped cucumber
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (I use the “Diosmos” Greek mint for this dish)
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)
- 1 garlic clove pressed or/and 2 tablespoons fresh chives finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried rose petals, crushed or minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped raisins (optional)
Topping (as desired):
- dried or/and fresh rose petals
- dried or/and fresh mint
- dried or/and fresh dill
- chopped walnuts
- Combine well all the ingredients for the dip and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the mixture into a serving bowl or dish. Refrigerate for at least one hour or best to allow the flavors to blend.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the ingredients for the topping with a nice geometrical pattern or simply randomized.