Yogurt and Cucumber Dip ~ Mast-o-Khiar

This yogurt and cucumber dip, known as Mast-o-Khiar in Persian, is made from cucumbers, yogurt, and mint. It’s similar to tzatziki and raita.

A bowl of yogurt and cucumber dip, topped with golden raisins, mint, and rose petals.

Sweetened with golden raisins and perfumed with rose petals, this creamy dip is served with flatbread or rice or lamb on the tables of Iranian families.–James Oseland

WHAT IS MAST-O-KHIAR?

Mast-o-khiar. It’s Persian for cucumber and yogurt, and yes, it’s what you get here. But that’s an overly simplistic summary of this traditional Middle Eastern dip. True, mast-o-khiar is not unlike Greek tzatziki or Indian raita, although this traditional rendition ups the ante with rose petal leaves and golden raisins. Toasted walnuts are another terrific addition if you like a little crunch with your creaminess. And yes, Greek yogurt works well in this recipe. As for how to dispatch this dip, that’s entirely at your discretion.

Yogurt and Cucumber Dip ~ Mast-o-Khiar

A bowl of yogurt and cucumber dip, topped with golden raisins, mint, and rose petals.
This yogurt and cucumber dip, known as Mast-o-Khiar in Persian, is made from cucumbers, yogurt, and mint. It’s like tzatziki.
James Oseland

Prep 10 mins
Soak 10 mins
Total 20 mins
Appetizer
Persian
16 servings | 2 cups
53 kcal
No ratings yet
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Ingredients 

  • 10 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 18 ounces plain yogurt preferably full-fat
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint or 3 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped mint
  • 3 medium cucumbers peeled, seeded, and minced
  • Dried rose petals for garnish (optional)

Directions
 

  • Place the raisins in a small bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Set aside until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • On a cutting board, sprinkle the minced garlic with kosher salt. Using the side of a knife, mash the garlic into a paste. Dump it into a bowl.
  • Drain the raisins and stir almost all of them into the bowl of garlic along with the yogurt, mint, and cucumber. Garnish with the remaining raisins and the rose petals, if using.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 53kcal (3%)Carbohydrates: 10g (3%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mg (1%)Sodium: 34mg (1%)Potassium: 173mg (5%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 8g (9%)Vitamin A: 72IU (1%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 50mg (5%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is fantastic served on grilled flatbread. The flavors blended well together. It’s creamy but has a great crunch from the cucumbers and a touch of chew from the raisins. It’s cool-tasting but has a nice garlicky hint of heat. I’m not a huge fan of mint but found the addition of a tablespoon of fresh mint refreshing. It comes together very quickly and can be served immediately or a little later. This is a great sauce, dip, or sandwich condiment. It’d also be lovely on grilled chicken. It goes well on just about anything.

I’ve long been a fan of cucumber raita, a wonderful Indian condiment. So when I came across this Iranian version, my interest was piqued. The most surprising quality about this dish is the golden raisins. I was initially hesitant about the addition of them, as I’m not usually fond of raisins in recipes. However, I found they added a subtle sweetness and great texture to the tangy yogurt mixture, making them pertinent. This dish would do well next to almost any meat as well as on its own with flatbread. I used fresh mint instead of dried, as I feel the flavor is far superior. All in all, this was a delicious dish that I plan to make again very soon.


Originally published July 16, 2013

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Comments

  1. My family makes mast-o-khiar with just yogurt, cucumbers and mint, plus salt and pepper, but raisens are a nice touch if you like them. We also make mast-o-mouseer, with yogurt and pickled shallots or wild garlic.

    1. Oh, that mast-o-mouseer sounds simply fabulous, Lola! I’m curious, do you use approximately the same amount of pickled shallots or wild garlic as you would cucumber? That is, in place of the cucumber?

      1. Renee, it’s hard to really pinpoint. Like my mother and grandmother before me, I tend to make Persian foods by eye- that is, no measurements- just using sight to approximate, but I’d say for every pint of yogurt, measure out 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of dried shallots or wild garlic, reconstitute them in water, and dice finely before adding.

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