World’s Kitchen: Maast o Khiar – Cucumber, Mint and Yogurt

DSC_0702Ingredients: 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 hummusfalafelbabaghanoush, 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).

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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.

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And I also squeezed a little bit of lime juice with the cucumber just before mixing it together with the Greek yogurt.

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The recipe can be found in Persiana under the chapter ‘Mezze and sharing plates’.

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