Mast o Khiar is a traditional Persian yogurt and cucumber dip that is light and flavorful. This tasty dip can be served with main dishes or as an appetizer with some chips or pita bread.
It’s time for some light and tasty appetizers to enjoy in this this wonderful weather!
Persian cuisine is full of tasty recipes that are so diverse and seasonal. Every item in our dishes and on the table is there for a reason. One item that is very popular in Persian cuisine is yogurt and it’s used as a light main dish such as Persian yogurt soup or a healthy appetizer such as Borani Esfenaj (Persian spinach and cucumber dip). And, today, we are going to check out another good old Persian recipe using yogurt called Mast o Khiar.
This Persian yogurt dip is a staple at Persian tables and is usually served with main dishes such as Ghormeh Sabzi or Adas Polo (Persian lentil mixed rice). It’s a light side dish that accompanies every meal really well and can also be used as a sauce for grilled chicken or beef.
But, what does Mast o Khiar mean? “Mast” means yogurt and “khiar” means cucumber, therefore “Mast o Khiar” means yogurt and cucumber and that’s basically it. The basic Persian yogurt and cucumber dip is made of only these two ingredients plus salt, pepper and sometimes dried mint. Today I’m going to show you how I make this Persian yogurt dip with some extra ingredients for more flavor and texture.
What kind of cucumber should I use for cucumber dip?
Seedless cucumbers or ones that have very few seeds like Persian cucumbers are ideal for this yogurt and cucumber dip.
Read about cucumber varieties on The Spruce Eats.
What yogurt should I use for this yogurt dip recipe?
European yogurt is my favorite type of yogurt to use with this delicious side dish because it has a semi sour flavor that goes well with herbs and cucumber and has a closer flavor to the yogurt that one finds in Iran, but I’ve also made this dip with plain Greek yogurt and it turns out perfectly tasty every time. You can use either full fat, low fat or nonfat Greek yogurt to make this Mast o Khiar (Persian cucumber and yogurt dip).
How to make yogurt and cucumber dip?
Start with chopping the cucumbers into small pieces. Mix them with salt, pepper and dried mint. Add in the yogurt and give it a nice stir. Next, add in chopped walnuts and raisins. Top with some more dried mint, walnuts, raisins and dried rose petals. Chill in the fridge for thirty minutes before serving. Serve Mast o Khiar in a large bowl or individual small bowls with pita chips, pita bread, naan or lavash bread.
We love to serve this yogurt dip as a side dish with grilled chicken, beef or lamb, or even a light sauce. This tasty simple dip is also great with mixed rice dishes.
The reason that we always use walnuts and raisins in this Persian yogurt dip is because these two ingredients have warm natures whereas yogurt and cucumbers have cold nature. Mixing all these ingredients together helps balancing this dip.
Notes and tips to make yogurt dip
- The basic Mast o Khiar is made with yogurt, cucumbers, salt, dried mint and sometimes pepper. If you want it to be more flavorful, use this recipe with walnuts and raisins.
- For more flavor, add some garlic powder to the yogurt dip.
- To make Mast o Khiar, I usually chop the cucumber into small pieces, but some grate the cucumbers and that works too. Be aware that the dip might become watery after chilling in the fridge, so, if you’re grating the cucumbers, make sure to squeeze them and discard the excess water before mixing it with yogurt.
- Traditionally, this Persian yogurt dip is made with dried mint but you can make it with fresh herbs, too.
- You can get dried rose from here (affiliate) and dried mint from here (Affiliate).
Mast o Khiar - Persian Yogurt and Cucumber Dip
- 4 cups Plain Greek Yogurt See Note #1
- 2 cups Chopped Cucumber See Note #2
- 2 tbsp Dried Mint
- 1 tsp Powdered Dried Rose Petals
- 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1/2 cup Raisins
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Stir well until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Refrigerate the yogurt dip for 30 minutes.
- Serve with pita chips, pita bread, naan, or lavash bread.
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