Cooking time: A few moments
Waiting time: 6-8 hours
Mast plays an important part in the Iranian daily diet. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, it is light and unfiltered. It is thinned with water to make dugh, a tangy beverage served ice cold, flavored with aromatic herbs.
Flavored with cucumber and mint, it is eaten on its own or with bread. "I'm allowed to eat a lot of it," says Baback, the son of the household, "because I often have an upset stomach and it helps." With the addition of herbs and spices, it becomes a salad dressing.
Thickened with starch, it is turned into a dessert; it can be piped out into various shapes and then fried in oil and served in a heavy syrup.
Iranians will tell you that it is so easy to make home-made yogurt that you really have no excuse not to try it. Avoid electric machines and yogurt makers that you find on the market, because the temperature is usually too high and you have no control over the final result.
- bring the milk to the boiling point in a saucepan; let cool to lukewarm (better too cool than too hot);
- in another bowl, combine the yogurt with 250 ml (1 cup) warm milk; add the remaining milk;
- pour into a porcelaine or terra cotta bowl;
- cover with a clean cloth; cover with a blanket to keep the bowl warm;
- let rest for 12-24 hours until the yogurt is very thick;
- store in the refrigerator.
- instead of pouring the yogurt into a bowl, place into a cheesecloth bag;
- hang the bag from a cord over a bowl or sink;
- let drain for several hours; the longer it drains, the thicker the yogurt;
- season; add spices or herbs such as chopped mint; it can be eaten plain or on bread. An excellent substitute for cream cheese or sour cream.
- place 250 ml (1 cup) yogurt in a pitcher; shake well;
- add 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water, mineral water or club soda;
- flavor to taste with mint leaves, rose petals, savory and celery salt, etc.
- serve over ice cubes.
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