24 Jul Mast-o-Khiar- Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts, Dried Currants and Rose Petals
Mast-o-khiar is a very popular Iranian side dish that is served with other dishes. In most of the worlds cuisines you’ll find a yogurt or sour cream based dish that acts as a refresher and additional component to other dishes. Think of the Indian raita or the Greek tzatziki. Wherever you go in the world you’ll find some cooling yogurt dip to cool the palate. This dish is no exception and I imagine if you’re eating something on the heavier side that this particular salad is a refreshing addition. I personally don’t like to eat heavy food so I enjoy this salad on its own or simply along side some grains, vegetables or legumes. This particular one I combined with plain buckwheat and roasted vegetables. I know that it wouldn’t pass as a traditional Persian dish but I love to get inspired by different cuisines and I find this version particularly beautiful with the rose petals.
Normally it is garnished with dried rose petals but I happened to have fresh ones and used those. In addition to being beautiful for the eyes it also packs a punch taste-wise. It gets some sweetness from dried currants,some crunch from toasted walnuts and freshness from fresh mint. I didn’t have any fresh mint so I used dill which worked quite nicely and also some dried mint. The main difference to a tzatziki is that you use freshly chopped cucumbers here and no soaking in salt and squeezing excess water out. Here you’re going for crunch as opposed to a soft homogenous creamy dip. This time of the year you can get a large variety of cucumbers and the small and firm ones are the ones that I prefer for this particular dish. I don’t know the variety to be honest. I think the long seedless ones are called English cucumbers and these are the same, only smaller. Of course you can use any cucumbers you like. I like to leave some of the peel on, especially when using organic produce which I do mostly anyhow. I peel two strips and leave the rest on. In the fall when grapes are in season I imagine you could use them in place of the dries currants. Traditionally raisins are used so if you want to keep it more traditional then do so by all means.
Since I love exploring different cuisines from around the world I feel like I’ve actually become more connected even though I know they are not authentic but I know that there are many dishes out there that are vegan and nobody would call them as such so sometimes I find it disturbing when people say it must be so difficult to be vegan. People eat vegan food all the time without realizing that it is vegan. One perfect example is a classic pasta with tomato sauce. I am looking to bridge that gap so that we can all enjoy food together without making divisions. I hope you enjoy this dish and let me know how you like it. I would be delighted to hear from you and if you happen to share it on instagram please tag me #veganart. To more dishes with cucumbers and long summer nights! Cheers, Aleksandra
MAST O KHIAR -Persian Cucumber Salad with Walnuts, Dried Currants and Rose Petals
3 small cucumbers
500 g coconut yoghurt
50 g dried currants
4 Tbsp toatsed walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill or mint for a more traditional version
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp sea salt
fresh pepper, to taste
1 tbsp dried or fresh rose petals , to decorate
- Peel the cucumbers partially, leaving some of the skin on. I do this by peeling to strips off. Cut them lengthwise and then in the middle and then into small pieces.
- Toast and chop the walnuts. Place all the ingredients in a bowl except for the rose petals and mix them gently. Top with the rose petals and place in the fridge to cool or serve immediately. On a hot day you can add ice cubes if you wish.