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I am trying to identify a dish I had a while ago while traveling in Iran. It was in Isfahan, and none of the languages I speak seemed particularly common with the locals, so I only got patchy details in addition to the actual experience of the dish.

The dish:

  • was served in a shallow plate, for dipping/scooping.
  • had a paste-like consistency, somewhat similar to hummus, but less chunky, more rope-y, and much more homogeneous.
  • was mainly sweet, with a slight hint of savoury taste and saffron.
  • was yellow-to-orange in color, I assume on account of saffron spicing.
  • was made (primarily or mainly) of lamb (I double-checked with the serving staff as well as other patrons).

I found it hard to believe given the taste and appearance, but after making sure everybody agreed on the fact that it was meat, both the consistency and the slight savoury taste made more sense. I don't know if it's eaten as dessert by the locals, but I would certainly think of it as dessert. It was very sweet.

Do you know:

  • what this dish is called?
  • how exactly it is made?
16

As confirmed in comments, the dish is khoresht mast.

According to this recipe and this video, the main ingredients seem to be lamb or beef neck, yoghurt, sugar, saffron, rosewater, and garnishes of pistachios and barberries.
The lamb/beef is simmered with onion and turmeric then mashed and blended, and mixed with an egg yolk, yoghurt, and sugar. This is gently heated, to which saffron water and and (optionally) rosewater are now added. The mixture is then chilled, garnished, and served cool. The video explains everything quite well.

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  • 10
    My mind is really confused about a creamy meat dessert dish... I have to make it. – Max Jun 22 at 15:11
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    Please update us on how it turns out! – mbjb Jun 23 at 0:17
  • @Max try it, it was pretty epic. Also, the recipe says beef, but I'm pretty sure what I had was lamb. – TheChymera Jun 27 at 23:06
5

I disagree with the accepted answer, as the question states it was a dessert, which does not apply to Khoresht-e Mast. I am Iranian myself and to me, it sounds more like a local form of Haleem. It's a sweet dish (dessert), which has creamy consistency, is always prepared with meat and thus, results in an as you called it "rope-y" paste. It's considered a dessert or breakfast, as it is really sweet and it has strong flavours of cinnamon, as well as saffron, rosewater and other typical, persian sweet flavours like pistachio. Check out the google results for "Halim/Haleem Persian" and consider, if this may fit your description better.

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  • The question doesn't state it was a dessert. It says "I don't know if it's eaten as dessert by the locals" – AakashM Jun 23 at 17:19
  • This answer is confusing. What do you mean by "dessert"? As you say, halim is breakfast food, not dessert. If you're calling anything sweet "dessert" then khoresht-e-mast would be dessert, since it's sweet. – Juhasz Jun 23 at 19:19
  • @Juhasz Some consider pancakes or rice pudding a dessert, some consider it breakfast. Same here, at least in my family, we consider Haleem dessert, while for others it may definitely fall under breakfast, as there is no clear categorization. I consider khoresht-e mast as a "main dish" for lunch/dinner (again, arguable), partially due to the "khoresht" part. It's all semantics and meal preference, the main point is, there may be a dish which may fit the description in a better way, which can only be said after the thread poster tries both. – kopaka Jun 24 at 12:38
  • @AakashM Adding to my comment before, I tried to approach the question from a Western PoV. OP would consider the dish dessert, so I tried to reconstruct what lead to that belief and I think from that perspective and without prior knowledge, halim would qualify as dessert, while khoresht-e-mast wouldn't, due to the usual serving size and how it may have been eaten, if disregarding the flavour. I still can be wrong though, I just wanted to point out that halim qualifies equally in terms of the description. – kopaka Jun 24 at 12:43
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    @kopaka thank you for the answer, upvoting :) However, I specifically stated I didn't know whether it was legitimate dessert, just that I would eat it as such: “I don't know if it's eaten as dessert by the locals, but I would certainly think of it as dessert. It was very sweet.” Comparing the pictures, it was clearly “Khoresht-e Mast”. Apologies if my question was misleading. – TheChymera Jun 27 at 23:04
-1

From your description, I believe what you ate was Khoresht Mast. There is a picture of the dish on this page.

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