Mast-e Shirin (Sweet Yogurt)
Sugarcane cultivation and processing reached Persia in the sixth century AD, after its domestication in Southeast Asia. It was then carried to the Mediterranean by Emperor Darius, and later to the New World by Christopher Columbus. Sugar production was labor intensive, highly valued and mostly available to the wealthy. With the inventions of steam engines and mechanized production, sugar became more available to every household….and found it’s way to yogurt.
In Iran, yogurt sweetened by either sugar or honey is an informal (khodemuni) food that you schlep together to satisfy your sweet tooth, rather than a treat to offer guests. However, when I made it again the other day, it tasted more delicious than any flavored yogurt out there. As da Vinci said it so well, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I offered it to my guest, who kept on asking “So, what is in this??” He never had rosewater before.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 2 cups plain yogurt (creamy)
- 2-3 Tbs sugar/honey or to taste
- 1-1.5 tsp rosewater
- lemon juice to taste
Time~ 5 min
- In a bowl, mix together yogurt and sugar/honey. If using honey, allow yogurt to reach room temp. so the honey doesn’t clump up.
- Mix in rosewater. Garnish with honey swirls or edible rose petals, if you have any.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Look for a perfect sweet and sour balance.
In Iran, people eat yogurt with naan. Tear off a piece of flat bread, form the little funnel to close off the end, and scoop up the yogurt.