Mast O Khiar (Mast-o-Khiar, Khiar Mast, ماست و خیار) is an unusual light dish made with yogurt in Persian cuisine. In the past, when Qajar kings were ruling in Iran, Amir Kabir, the minster of time, warns the king about people’s financial status. King asks why the minster thinks they have an adverse financial condition. Minster answers because all they eat is Mast O Khiar. It is a Persian term for cucumber and yogurt. The king orders his chefs to prepare the same food for him to observe the situation practically.
The chefs prepare a dish of yogurt and diced cucumbers into it. Then they think that they should add some more ingredients to make a better taste. They add walnuts, raisins, herbs, and some other ingredients and serve it for the king (Nasseredin Shah). The historians have written that he eats and asks for more of it. He answers to the minster that this food costs more than Kebab, and it is very delicious. He claims that he would eat this food as his main course, once or twice a week. That is how a simple mixture of yogurt and cucumber, changes to Mast Khiare Nasereddin Shahi which is considered a formal and tasty appetizer, starter or side dish at most places.
Nowadays, they serve it in almost every restaurant in Iran, whether it is a simple street restaurant or the fanciest one in Tehran. However, the methods of serving may be different. Moreover, many factories make industrialized ready to eat kinds. It can be a light dinner, an easy appetizer, or merely a brunch. It is easy and quick to make and is rich in nutrition.
Different types of Mast O Khiar:
According to the ingredients you add to the cucumber and yogurt, the final taste can vary. Indeed, it is mostly up to the person who makes it. For example, one might add several kinds of herbs, one might add the only mint, and one might add no herbs at all. Moreover, the type of yogurt you use in making this food can have a substantial effect on the final result. The more fat your yogurt has, the more delicious your Mast O Khiar becomes. I recommend you to use greek yogurt for a better taste. Some nuts such as walnuts can be added to make the taste more alluring. In some restaurants, they add cream, which makes it more delightful.
Important Nutrition Facts of Mast O Khiar:
This food has a very low calorie, and that is why many people consider it a light dinner course. It only has 64 kcal per 100gr. However, this number can vary depending on the ingredients. Of course, a cream added dish won’t have this low calorie! It contains 154 gr water per 100gr, which is a notable amount. It has 10 gr of carbohydrates and about 8 gr of protein in 100gr. It includes an amount of all vitamins, vitamin C with 4 mg per 100 gr is the most remarkable one. It is the source of calcium with 205 mg of calcium in each 100gr. It is an excellent source of potassium, sodium, phosphor, and many other necessary minerals. It is rich in nutrition since it gives a high amount of needed minerals and vitamins in exchange with a low calorie!
Mast O Khiar is an utterly vegetarian dish. However, if you are a vegan, you have to change the yogurt with a vegan source. Cucumber, the herbs or nuts you may add, are all vegan, and you can enjoy an excellent light Persian dish by just changing the yogurt to a vegetarian type.
Serving style of Mast O Khiar:
Iranians serve this food as a starter or appetizer before the main course. It also can be served as brunch, breakfast, and as a side dish next to many foods. It can be eaten by any kind of Polo and make an alluring taste. They both serve it in single cups or self-served big bowls. In fancier restaurants, they serve it in big containers. In small restaurants, they mostly serve small, single served industrialized ones. You can serve it in both formal and informal parties. You can use walnuts and dried mint and rose to decorate the topping. Moreover, it is an excellent dinner for a low-calorie diet. In the parties, they usually serve it in a bowl, and the guests pour it into cups to consume before or while eating the main food.
What are the ingredients of Mast O Khiar?
The main ingredients of Mast O Khiar as the word itself says are Mast and Khiar(Yogurt and cucumber). The yogurt plays a vital role in the taste; we recommend you to use greek yogurt or any other fatty yogurt, you know. If you do not have access to fat yogurt, you can add cream for a fancier taste. The optional ingredients are some shredded claves of garlic, ground dried herbs. The most used herb is mint; however, they commonly add ground wild thyme, which has a great scent along with the excellent taste. The ground rose is another spice; they mostly use in Iran. Chopped walnuts, raisins, and cream are other optional components that make a fantastic flavor at the end. Of course, salt is also an essential ingredient here, since it makes half of the taste.
How to make Mast O Khiar?
It is effortless to make this Persian side dish. Maybe it has the most straight forward recipe in the world. To make it, all you have to do is to mix all other ingredients with yogurt. You have to peel and chop the cucumbers. You can either dice them into tiny pieces or shred them. Then you need to cut the walnuts and garlic. You can shred the garlic, too.
Moreover, you can add ground walnuts. Then you can add salt and other spices such as ground mint, ground rose to your taste. If you like it sweet, you can add some raisins too. If you are going to prepare Mast Khiar for a formal party, you may add some cream, also. In the end, all you need to do is to decorate the top with the spices and walnuts and keep it in the fridge to serve it cool.
This recipe is adequate for four people. The preparation time is about 15 minutes, and it needs a minimum of 30 minutes to chill in the fridge before serving.
Mast O Khiar
- 4 cup of greek yogurt or any other fatty yogurt
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon dried ground mint
- 2 teaspoon dried ground rose
- 1 teaspoon dried ground wild thyme (optional)
- ½ cup chopped or ground walnuts
- ⅓ cup raisins
- Pour the yogurt into a bowl.
- Peel and chop the cucumbers and add them to the yogurt
- Shred the garlic into the bowl
- Add salt and mix them well.
- Add 1 teaspoon of mint
- Add 1 teaspoon of rose
- Add walnuts
- Add the cream at this point
- Add raisins
- Add wild thymes
- Mix them well, decorate the top with rest of the spices and some walnuts
- Chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
- Use the fattiest yogurt you can find
- For a better texture, shred the cucumbers and garlic and add ground walnuts
- Taste it and adjust the salt and raisins amount to your taste
- Do not overuse mint, because it can result in a bitter taste
- You’d better use a greek yogurt without adding cream than using a non-fat yogurt plus cream