For the inspiration for our recipe this week I turned to an item from our newly released catering menu. In it we dedicated an entire section to an array of delicious house made dips and spreads that you can mix and match along with different “vehicles” such as fresh veggies, house toasted pita chips, or homemade focaccia bread. One of my favorite dips from this list is a yogurt based Persian dip known as mast o-khiar. Its sort of like raita for those familiar with this yogurt and cucumber spread except that it has a whole bunch more interesting additions that create layers of flavor. This includes things such as rose petals, soaked raisins, and toasted walnuts (one of my favorite ingredients!). Its not only a great dip but works equally well as a topping for a simple piece of grilled or roasted fish or chicken. As with many yogurt based sauces I find that the flavor really deepens and improves if given a chance to sit overnight. This particular dip really benefits from the time because it allows the rose petals and raisins to release both their perfume and sweetness throughout.
2 Cups Greek Yogurt or Whole Milk Yogurt that has been strained
¼ Cup Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 Small Persian Cucumbers, finely diced
3 Tablespoons Chopped Herbs such as Dill, Parsley, chives or whatever you like
1 teaspoon garlic pasted, or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ Cup Raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 teaspoons Crushed Dried Rose Petals – Available in Middle Eastern markets
Salt to taste
1) Drain the raisins and mix with the yogurt along with all remaining ingredients except the walnuts
2) If possible, allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator
3) The next day give the mixture a stir and adjust seasoning as the flavor will have developed and changed.
4) Stir in the toasted walnuts
5) Enjoy with pita bread, veggies, or as a topping for fish or chicken!