Ingredients: 1 cucumber, 200 gr Greek yogurt, a bunch of fresh mint leaves, 1 pomegranate, a bunch of raisins, 1 lime, walnuts (for decoration), edible flowers (roses – for decoration)
Seasonigs: Himalaya salt and lemon black pepper
Maybe it’s because I have recently come back from Dubai or because I have recently purchased Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana, which has become a sort of addiction, I keep on craving Middle Eastern food all day long.
I am a huge fan of culinary books and being the visual person that I am, the most important thing for me are the pictures and the food styling. I feel more inspired and more eager to recreate a dish when the picture appeals to me. And all pictures are simply mouth-watering. Persiana includes a great collection of Middle Eastern cuisine, primarily from Iran and the way its recipe is described indicates a true and genuine passion for food and for her Persian roots. Having personally lived in the Middle East for almost two years, I became really fond of their cuisine and I was looking for ages for the perfect book that could bring together all the different culinary traditions and when I spotted Persiana at the bookstore, it was love at first sight.
Maast o Khiar (or Mast-o-Khiar) is part of what in Arabic, Turkish and Greek culinary tradition is called mezze (or meze), which can be translated as “appetizer”. A plate of mezze usually will include worldwide famous hummus, falafel, babaghanoush, fatoush, labneh and many more delicacies. When I was leafing through the pages of Persiana, this yogurt and cucumber based appetizer caught my eye and since cucumbers are one of my favourite veggies, I decided to give it a go and try it. (And of course I had to reinvent it and add something from my side).
My take and personal touch: pomegranate. I thought it could really balance the pinkness of the roses and add a distinctive sweetness to balance the freshness of the mint leaves.
And I also squeezed a little bit of lime juice with the cucumber just before mixing it together with the Greek yogurt.
The recipe can be found in Persiana under the chapter ‘Mezze and sharing plates’.