Mast-o Khiar (Persian Cucumber and Herb Yogurt)
Yogurt, both plain and with cucumbers, is everywhere on Iranian tables — the thicker and sourer, the better. Mast-o khiar is an everyday side similar to Indian raita or Greek tzatziki, but raisins, walnuts and rose petals elevate this version of the dish, adding a host of different flavors and textures. Dice, rather than grate, the cucumbers to keep them from getting watery, and don’t skip the dried mint and dried dill, which add dimension to the fresh herbs.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¼cup black or golden raisins
- 3Persian cucumbers (about 1/2 pound)
- 24ounces Greek yogurt or labneh (3 cups)
- 2tablespoons any combination of finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, tarragon or dill
- 1garlic clove, finely grated or pounded into a smooth paste with a pinch of salt
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾teaspoon ground or crumbled dried rose petals (optional)
- 1teaspoon dried mint
- 1teaspoon dried dill
- 3tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnut pieces
Step 1In a small bowl, submerge the raisins in boiling water to plump for 10 minutes, then drain well.
Step 2Remove alternating stripes of peel on cucumbers and trim ends. Dice cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl with raisins, yogurt, fresh herbs, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and, if using, half the rose petals. Using your fingers to break up any large pieces, gently grind the dried mint and dried dill into the bowl. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
Step 3Just before serving, stir in the walnuts and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with remaining rose petals, if using. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.