Persian Yoghurt with Cucumber, or Mast-o-Khiar in Farsi, is a traditional Persian yoghurt recipe that goes with just about anything! Yoghurt is a must at Persian meals, and comes in various guises. It is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to rice, stews and grilled meat, much like raita is eaten with Indian food.
Mast-o-Khiar makes a fantastic appetiser too, and you can serve it as a dip, with all the usual suspects, be it crisps, crackers, breadsticks or vegetable sticks. In this instance, it will be just like the Mediterranean tzatziki, a yoghurt sauce/dip known as different things all around the Med and Balkans.
What does Mast-o-Khiar mean?
- Mast = yoghurt
- Khiar = cucumber
- Mast-o-Khiar = Yoghurt and Cucumber
Persian Yoghurt with Cucumber Recipe
In its most basic form, you’ll have the chopped or grated cucumber stirred into the yoghurt, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I do this pretty often when I have Middle Eastern or South Asian food.
Moving on from that, still keeping it simple, many families add some dried mint to the mix, which makes it even more refreshing.
The next most common ingredients are walnuts and raisins.
Beyond that, you can let your taste and your imagination lead you. But always remember
less is more!
So what other ingredients can we use in Mast-o-Khiar?
- Dried and ground edible rose petals (keep the whole ones merely as a light garnish)
- Chopped shallots (or spring onions, scallions in American speak)
- Finely chopped garlic
- Sumac (not traditional, but oh, so good!)
- Gound dried limes (limoo amani)
- Fresh mint instead of dried (to me, fresh is much better than dried)
- some sort of chilli – ground or flakes
Preferably, not all at once!
Best Yoghurt for this Persian Yoghurt and Cucumber Recipe
Anything that’s thick and not too runny, like Greek yoghurt and Labneh. And half fat or no fat work perfectly well too.
What cucumber should you use for Mast-o-Khiar?
Honestly? Any kind will do. Persian, English, Kirby, Baby – whatever you usually use will work in this recipe. We’ve even used Cucamelons and lemon cucumbers, and they were simply awesome. I’m growing the latter two again this year. Let’s see if I can remember to do some photos for this recipe.
More Persian Recipes on LinsFood
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Persian Yoghurt with Cucumber Recipe (Mast-o-Khiar)
- 2 cups plain natural yoghurt
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 Tbsp dried mint (or 1 handful fresh mint, chopped)
- 1 handful walnuts coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp ground dried edible rose petals (optional)
- large pinch salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Chop up the cucumber fairly small. If you want to grate them, be sure to squeeze them dry in paper towels after grating. Otherwise, the yoghurt will get watered down.
- Mix everything up in a bowl, keeping a little of all the ingredients as a garnish. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if you think it needs it. Or any of the other ingredients.
- Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes for the flavours to develop. Can be made up to 2 hours ahead.
- Serve as mentioned above, garnished with some of the same ingredients.