You will find yogurt with cucumbers in almost every middle-eastern culture. This version is Persian, Mast o Khiar, and is made with dill and mint.
Yes, this is not a back-to-school post! I realized that with all of this focus on kids, it’s time to talk about something else. You know, it’s a mommy-syndrome to rattle on and on about our kids. Here in San Diego, the weather has turned HOT again.
And that means this momma does not want to to cook and heat up the kitchen. These are the times we are always looking for cool snacks and meals that don’t have sugar. And this Persian Yogurt with Cucumber (Mast o Khiar) is always a family favorite.
Why you should try this recipe
Mast o khiar translates to “yogurt with cucumber.” It sounds so simple and yet it is one of the most delicious treats out there, in my opinion. Persian yogurt is mixed with either dill or mint, in my case both, as well as chopped up cucumbers, salt and pepper.
Depending on who is making it, mast o khiar can include other ingredients, too. You can also mix in raisins, chopped walnuts and dried rose petals. But its simplest form, with herbs and cucumbers, is most popular.
We enjoy it alone or with potato chips or bread to dip it into it. My middle child makes a meal out of a bowl of mast o khiar and some lavash or pita. For big family dinners we often serve this as an appetizer with chips.
We also serve this as a side dish to Persian Kabob and other Persian meals. They are heave together!
Ingredients you need
- Yogurt: I prefer using Persian yogurt, which is more tangy than most popular yogurts. Use plain yogurt that isn’t too watery. Greek yogurt is another great option.
- Cucumbers: Don’t use the fat watery cucumbers, as they don’t have much flavor and will water down your yogurt. I like to use Persian cucumbers, with the skin. I also use English cucumbers, but I usually peel these if their skin is a little too thick.
- Dried herbs: Some people use just dried mint. Other people use just dried dill. I use both!
- Salt and pepper
1. Chop the cucumbers to whatever size you like. With Persian cucumbers, you can keep the skin on them. I prefer to dice the cucumbers small.
2. Add diced cucumbers to a bowl holding your yogurt and add seasonings.
3. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Persian yogurt is very different from Greek yogurt and the mass marketed Dannon/Yoplait you find in the supermarket. Recently in one my foodie facebook groups, there was a great discussion about the virtues of yogurt and our personal favorites.
I am not dismissing Greek yogurt. It is thick and full of so many good things for you: probiotics, calcium, protein…. But, it is rather bland in flavor. This is a virtue when you are adding your own flavorings like fruit, honey or granola. I love my Greek yogurt for breakfast.
But not for my mast-o khiar. Persian yogurt has a bit of sourness to it. This is because when you are making yogurt, you are letting it sour for up to 18 hours! It’s easy to make your own yogurt. I wrote all about how to make yogurt at home here.
Another version of this dish is Persian cold yogurt soup. It’s a great dish for those hot summer days!
Tzatziki usually has olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice mixed into it. It also has garlic and is made typically with dill. And of course, the base is Greek yogurt, which has a different flavor than Persian yogurt. Overall, they are very similar to each other with some minor differences.
Persian cucumber yogurt is commonly served as a side dish to many meals, like kebab and stews. It is also served as an appetizer. You can serve it with pita, lavash or even potato chips.
- 4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ cup diced Persian cucumbers
- 2 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serving Suggestions: Chopped walnuts and raisins can also be added to the yogurt. You can also garnish with some dried rose petals.
Great as a side dish or as an appetizer, served with bread or potato chips.
Cooking Tips: Traditionally, middle-eastern yogurt is thick and a little sour. If you can not find authentic middle-eastern yogurt, you may need to adjust the seasonings.
Serving Size:½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4.5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 166mgCarbohydrates: 14.6gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 14.2gProtein: 4.1g
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