December 30, 2009

Mast-o-Laboo - Persian Beet & Yogurt Dip

There are many types of street food vendors here in NY. They sell fruits, soft pretzels, hot dogs, toasted chestnuts, and so on. We took a stroll down Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center, looking at the holiday decorations and lighting. My daughters bought some roasted peanuts from a vendor on the street. It reminded me of my growing up in Iran and the time that my mother would buy me fresh whole salted walnuts, grilled corn (balal) and warm and juicy cooked beetroot (laboo). Is it just my nostalgia that the food we ate seems to have tasted much better back then?

Beets are an interesting root vegetable, they add so much color to your life! They color everything that they come in contact with including your hands and nails. I wonder if beets were used as make-up to color the cheeks and lips before modern times.

Cooked beetroot (choghondar) could be served sliced in salads, sliced or quartered with a dash of sugar, or mixed in with yogurt. The green part of it could also be used in the vegetable and been stew (ash). They add a delicious flavor to the stew, however, it is usually disposed of. That must be the reason behind the Iranian saying used when someone feels neglected, unappreciated or overlooked in decision-making situations: "Am I a beetroot leaf here?"  (pas man inja barg-e choghondaram?) ماست و لبو/ بورانی لبو  Mast o Laboo/ Borani Laboo is a simple yet delicious side dish.

Mast-o- Laboo/Borani Laboo - Persian Beet & Yogurt Dip

Serves 4-6

3 small-size beets
2 cups plain thick yogurt
1 teaspoon sugar *optional
Garlic powder

  1. Place the beets in a pan, cover with water, cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Peel, cut into small bite-size pieces or grate the beets using a food processor or a hand grater.
  4. Combine the yogurt, beets, and a dash of garlic powder, salt, and a pinch of sugar. a pic. Mix well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Serve cold.



  1. Gorgeous! Thanks for posting this. BTW, I'm adding your to my blog roll now (the roll will be in its own tab, entitled "Sites I Like."

    Happy 2010, Azita!

  2. Thanks Bria. You are on my blog roll too!
    Best wishes fro 2010!

  3. Wow, what a great site! My wife is from Iran and I have become a big fan of Persian food. Love the recipes on your site (although I have no use for mast-e laboo (not a big fan of beets!)). These other recipes look wonderful. I have added you to my blogroll, as well, under "Food and Travel."

    noosh-e jan!

  4. Moe, thanks for stopping by, commenting and adding me to your blogroll! I'll visit your site soon.

    Happy New Year!

  5. This was a great and easy to make recipe. Thanks for sharing it. I just posted it on my website. Your other recipes seems great too. I should try a couple of them. It would be great if you can publish some of them on our site. We have a section for Persian foods which you can check here:

    Happy new year

  6. Navid: Thank you so very much and I'll look into it.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Thank you for a really good laugh--am I a beetroot leaf here? :-)