The Poetry of Mast`o Musir | KCET
The Poetry of Mast`o Musir
Mast`o Musir, in Farsi, translates to “yogurt with a hair of garlic.” Quite poetic, right? Most Iranian literature and art is poetry — always a story to be told. The same goes for Iranian food. Mast`o Musir is one of my most craved dips, which I grew up eating with potato chips. I add cucumber because I love the refreshing crunch, but you can do without if you prefer.
This dip is the perfect accompaniment to roasted lamb and goat, rice and vegetables — or my favorite: potato chips.
14 ounces labneh (I use homemade, but you can use any store-bought brands. Those with higher fat content will have more flavor.)
7 ounces bakhtiari yogurt
2 to 3 Persian cucumbers, grated and strained through cheese cloth
2 ounces musir (There is a misconception that shallots sold in markets are raw musir, but this is not correct. Shallots sold in markets are a form of onion. Musir, or Persian shallots (allium stipitatum), taste like mild garlic and have a pungent smell, but do not leave your breath smelling so garlicky.)
Moroccan olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
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1. Soak the musir in water for at least three days in refrigerator. This helps the garlic to re-absorb liquid.
2. Once you are ready to make the dip, use a large grater to grate the Persian cucumbers into a fine cloth, and squeeze out all liquid. Set aside.
3. Strain the liquid from the soaking musir, finely chop the musir with a sharp knife or in a food processor until medium fine, keeping some texture (I prefer to use a knife, this way I can control the size of the chopped musir and also enjoy the smell of the sweet garlic). Once chopped, set aside.
4. Combine labneh and bakhtiari yogurt in a bowl. It is not traditional to use two yogurts in Mast`o Musir, but I enjoy the high acidity in the bakhtiari yogurt, which cuts the thick creaminess of labneh.
5. Add the grated cucumber, chopped musir, a few swirls of olive oil, generous pinches of salt, and fresh-cracked pepper. Stir with a spatula until well incorporated.
6. Store in refrigerator until ready to consume. I prefer to allow the flavors to marry for several hours before serving.
7. When ready to serve, pour into a shallow bowl. Use the back of a spoon to create a crater; cover generously with your favorite olive oil, and enjoy.
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