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Khoresh Mast - Sweet Saffron Yogurt

Khoresh Mast is a tasty side dish from Isfahan. It translates to yogurt stew and sweet saffron yogurt would be one way to describe it.

To many of you and perhaps also to some of my fellow Iranians it may seem odd that there is meat in this sweet yogurt. My honest opinion is, if you’re vegetarian or simply find it weird, give it a go without meat. It still makes for a luscious side dish or dessert with less hassle and less expenses but just as much flavour.

With that being said, I don’t want to withhold the original Khoresh Mast from you, or at least as close as we can get to it far from Iran. So my recipe contains the meat version, that can simply be ignored if you want to try a meat free version.

Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine Persian
Keyword Khoresh Mast, saffron dessert, saffron yogurt
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Chilling time 12 hours
Servings 6 portions
Author Hami


  • 1 kg Greek style yogurt (4 cups)
  • 200 g sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp rosewater
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 2 ice cubes

For the meat

  • 300 g lamb neck fillet (10.5oz)
  • 1 onion
  • 240 ml freshly boiled water (1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • dried barberries 
  • slivered pistachios and almonds (optional)


  1. Bloom the saffron by sprinkling it over 2 ice cubes in a glass or by pouring a few tbsp hot water over it.

Cook the lamb neck

  1. Peel and quarter the onion. Transfer it to a pan together with the meat. Season with turmeric, black pepper and salt. Add 1 cup freshly boiled water to it. Bring it to boil, then reduce the temperature to low and put on the lid.

  2. Let the lamb necks simmer gently for about 1.5h. Occasionally turn them, so that they cook evenly. 

  3. Once the meat is completely cooked, so that you can tear it apart easily, remove it from the pan. Let it cool. Keep the broth, but discard the onion.

  4. Pull the lamb neck, as if it were pulled pork. Then knead it for about 15 minutes like bread dough. It will transform into a thick, sticky paste and the colour will become lighter. Gradually add broth to it spoon by spoon and combine well, so that the mixture becomes less firm until it has a sticky, creamy consistency. Set it aside for later.

Prepare the yogurt mixture

  1. Combine the egg yolk and sugar with a whisk. Don’t worry if the consistency is crumbly, that’s normal. Add the yogurt to the egg and sugar bit by bit while whisking until everything is well combined.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a pan and put it over low to medium heat. Slowly bring it to boil while occasionally stirring. 

Combine the ingredients

  1. Once it has come to a boil, remove it from the heat. Add the rosewater and saffron water and combine. Then add the meat paste to it bit by bit and stir it in very well. It There should be no pieces of meat noticeable when eating.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a dish and let it cool down. Then cover it and let the Khoresh Mast chill in the fridge for at least 12h.

  3. The next day soak some dried barberries in water for 30 min. Then squeeze them dry and decorate the Khoresh Mast with them. Add slivered pistachios and almonds if you like. I also added some berries and dried edible flowers for extra colour. Enjoy!