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Persian Cucumber Yogurt: Maast-o Khiar Recipe

The one thing that I love about Melissa’s Produce is how they bring together people who share a love for food. Every month, we all come together. We celebrate a new cookbook author and enjoy great food together. Over the years that I have spent at Melissa’s Produce, there is one author who I adore, Faye Levy.

Best Persian recipes

She is kind, and so talented. Recently, my son was sick. She was presenting her recent cookbook at Melissa’s, and I couldn’t attend. I saw the pictures of the food, and everyone savoring her talents. I reached out to her, and she shared this special recipe with me. Also, she allowed me to share it with all of you!

Faye Levy Maast-o Khiar recipe

My kids love Maast-o Khiar. So, I asked her if she had a version of it. Of course, she did. The recipe comes from her book, Feast from the Mideast. It’s not specifically maast-o Khiar, but it’s the general yogurt and cucumber salad/dip that’s popular in the Middle East.

Feast from the Mideast

Faye Levy Description of the Recipe

Maast-o Khiar from faye levy

If you yawn at the thought of a cucumber and yogurt salad, this one, called cacik in Turkish and khyar bi laban in Arabic, will wake you up with its garlic and mint accents. Be sure to use good quality yogurt.

The tangy taste of goat’s milk yogurt is excellent with the cucumbers, as is luscious sheep’s milk yogurt. Another fantastic option, popular in Lebanon, is labneh, or kefir cheese, which you can find at Middle Eastern markets; because it’s so thick, it needs to first be thinned with a little cold water.

You’ll also have tasty results with Bulgarian style yogurt, which is available at many supermarkets, or other whole cows’ milk yogurt. For lean days, low-fat or even nonfat yogurt is tasty when used this way.

Throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, this refreshing combination is especially welcome during the hot summers, not only as an appetizer but as a cooling complement for spicy stews. It can also be served as a dip with pita crisps or raw vegetables, as a crunchy spread for bread or as a sandwich filling in a pita with roasted vegetables or grilled meats.

The proportions of cucumber to yogurt are up to you. Many people add plenty of yogurt, sometimes diluted with water to make a cold soup. Some like the texture of cucumber rounds or half slices, while others prefer the finer consistency of diced or grated cucumbers, which makes this salad more like a dip.

Ingredients to Maast-o Khiar

Melissa's Produce ingredients for Maast-o Khiar

1 or 2 small fresh garlic cloves, crushed and minced
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons dried mint or dill or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
2 1/2 to 3 cups whole milk yogurt or strained yogurt or labneh
4 Middle Eastern, 2 Japanese or 1 hothouse cucumber
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions to Make Maast-o Khiar

1. Mash garlic with a pinch of salt in a bowl, using back of a spoon. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint and all but 1/2 cup of the yogurt or cheese. Blend well, thoroughly mixing in garlic mixture.

Easy Maast-o Khiar

2. Peel cucumbers if you like. Halve them lengthwise and slice them thin or grate them on large holes of a grater. Fold cucumbers gently into yogurt mixture. Add remaining yogurt if desired. If using kefir cheese and the mixture is too thick, gradually stir in a few tablespoons very cold water. (I didn’t have a grater, so I used a food processor instead)

Perian cucumbers from Melissa's Produce

Dicing Maast-o Khiar

Maast-o Khiar

3. Taste for seasoning, adding enough salt so the salad won’t be bland; if using salted labneh, the salad might not need more salt. Add cayenne to taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve sprinkled with remaining mint.

Persian Cucumbers

Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy More of Faye Levy’s Recipes

Faye is amazing at posting new recipes on her Facebook page. She is also an incredibly talented cookbook author. I recommend downloading some of these from Amazon:

Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home: 200 Recipes for Eating Well on Holidays and Every Day

1,000 Jewish Recipes (1,000 Recipes Book 43)

Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook

30 Low-Fat Meals in 30 Minutes

30 Low-Fat Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes

And more…she is that amazing!!

Where to Connect with Faye Levy

Maast-o Khiar Dip

She is available on Amazon, and Facebook. Happy cooking!

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