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Khak Shir

d
Derek Mancini-Lander Aug 30, 1999 01:12 PM

Does anyone know what khak shir is and how it is used? I know it's a spice used in Persian cooking, but that's all.

Does anyone know?

I bought some and it's been sitting with all my other spices, feeling kind of left out for months.

Thanks,

-D

  1. a
    Adrianen0 May 23, 2013 08:57 AM

    I'm Iranian (Persian). It translates to earth-milk! It's not a spice. It's pretty much flavorless and it is used for medicinal purposes for digestive health! You mix it with lemon, water, and sugar! Enjoy! :-)

    1. w
      Wild4Food Sep 2, 2010 11:06 AM

      Please refer to above

      1. p
        patiodadio Feb 23, 2009 01:17 PM

        Khak-e-shir is not kashk, it's a small round, brown flower seed. I'm not sure of its medicinal purposes, but in most places in Iran, its used to make a delicious drink. Add some to ice cold sugar water mixed with rose water. You're supposed to stir it up before you drink it. The small seeds spinning in the water give it the appearance of dirt which may explain the name. Believe me, the drink is infinitely more appetizing than the description. I had some in Mashhad this summer where they sell it on nearly every corner. Awesome stuff.

        Hope this helps.

        1. c
          cvafi Jul 31, 2008 09:45 AM

          well, i can share my experience with it without saying that it is the only use for it.... You have to wash the seeds very well as it has lots of dust. once washed, you can leave it with the water and add some lemon and sugar to it, bottle it in th fridge and drink it in hot summer days. it has a certain smell that you can hide with lemon juice. it cools down the body and cleans your liver. My grand mother used to give it to me when i was a kid and when I used to have too much sweets or hot tempered food.
          It's mainly medicinal and not sure if used in meals and cooking as it doesn't have a taste.
          couple of days ago my son got a rash reaction from food (yet to find out what) and his body was full with red blisters, I took him to the hospital and all we were told was to take benadryl. I didnt accept the none sense and asked my mother to prepare me some khak shir. after glasses the body cleared out.
          hope this helps.

          1. c
            Chiq Oct 8, 2002 06:27 PM

            Good guesses but they are all wrong. Khak Shir which is packaged by Sadaf International Gourmet Foods is carried in the spice section. It is actually a grain called TEFF, originally from Ethiopia and Northern India. TEFF is the smallest grain in the world. Take a close look at your spice bag. Five grains of Teff or Khak Shir can fit on the head of a pin...here are some links that will tell you about it and how to use it. cheers! the Cyber Chiq
            http://www.efn.org/~sundance/TeffMillet.html
            http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/pr...

            1. k
              Kristina Feb 27, 2001 07:15 PM

              Khak shir does mean dirt milk in Iranian or Farsi. But it is not milk. It is a seed. It is mixed with a bit of sugar and water or sprinkled in juice to give the desired digestive effect: either to correct constipation or diarreha. I use it for my daughter who is prone to constipation. It can be used on infants, even, with proper dosage. It can be purchased with the brand name Sadaf on it from any online or Middle East market.

              1. r
                Rachel Hope Sep 1, 1999 09:00 PM

                According to an Iranian friend and excellent cook, Khak
                Shir translates to earth-milk and is used to make a
                medicinal drink used for ritualistic purposes such as
                shaking off the evil eye. He doubts it tastes good.

                1. s
                  steve d. Aug 31, 1999 04:46 PM

                  Don't know the spice, but khak is 'earth, dust' (often used in combination, e.g. khak-e chini 'kaolin' and khak-e zoghal 'charcoal dust') and shir is 'milk' (also 'lion,' but I don't think they have lion dust even in Iran), so khak-e shir would be 'milk dust' -- i.e. some form of powdered milk (though I thought 'powdered milk' was shir-e khoshk, literally 'dry milk'). Any Iranians out there to help with this?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: steve d.
                    a
                    Alan Divack Aug 31, 1999 09:21 PM

                    This sounds a bit like kishik, which is
                    Lebanese/Levantine. I wonder if there is a link
                    because of the historic connections between Lebanon and
                    Iran.

                    Kishik is made from a mixture of wheat, salt, milk and
                    yoghurt, which is left to ferment a bit and then dried
                    in the sun and ground. I have never cooked with it ,
                    but I think that it is sold at Kalustyans and on
                    Atlantic Ave. It looks a bit like grated Romano
                    cheese, and would fit the translation milk dust
                    or powder.

                    MAry Laird Hamady gives several recipes using it in her
                    wonderful book Lebanese Mountain Cookery. It iis used
                    in dumpling and croquette stuffings, to thicken
                    porridges, and in salads. She suggests trying it like
                    a tarter version of grated cheese in salads, and gives
                    an easy recipe for sliced endive and onion, dressed
                    with olive oil, lemon, and quite a bit of kishik.

                    1. re: Alan Divack
                      s
                      steve d. Sep 1, 1999 09:41 AM

                      I don't think this has anything to do with kishik/keshk (though I have an interesting article on the history and nature of the latter -- e-mail me if you want details). "Khak" is a perfectly good Farsi word that makes perfect sense in context.

                      1. re: Alan Divack
                        s
                        steve d. Sep 2, 1999 11:04 AM

                        There is a long and detailed article on the history of kishk (kashk, kishik) in the book I have described in Not About Food (see link below); the author says "Confusion is created by the facts that the term kashk/kishik is present in different language families and cultural areas, dispersed over a large geographical area; and that the substances designated are extremely variable... it is a preserved food all over the Middle East, but Persian kashk is quite different from the Arab kishik; among the Armenians of Turkey and generally in Anatolia it is a dish like herissa (pounded meat and cereal); in Egypt it is a sweetmeat." She concludes that "Persian kashk originally designated ... a barley gruel... From that gruel, after adding leaven, two products are obtained which can be preserved: first, with the addition of a little water, bread...; secondly, with the addition of much more water, a fermented gruel, which can then be dried.... If fermented milk is used instead of leaven... We may suppose that Iranian-speaking pastoralists, for whom dried sour milk is a staple, and who have no easy access to barley, applied the word kashk by analogy to the dry sour milk. Then the word passed to the rest of the Middle East, and among the agriculturalists kishk came to designate complex preserved foods made from cereal and a ferment, whether leaven or sour milk.... It is sometimes a good cultural marker, as in Lebanon, where the Circassians neither name it nor use it, nor do Armenians from Armenia, while Armenians from Turkey do." Fascinating stuff.

                      2. re: steve d.
                        m
                        M Basafa Sep 18, 2003 04:10 AM

                        Seeds of an Iranian Flower. Boil & Allow to Cool, Add Suger and/or Ice Cubes If Desired. Produced and Packed in Iran. This particular seed usually redish brown is used in Iran during hot summer months. It is some sort of a thirst quencher. It can also be used when thirsty or having a temperature or fever. That's basically it :-)

                      3. r
                        Robert Sietsema Aug 31, 1999 11:52 AM

                        This is just a guess, but--

                        shir means "milk" and "kashk" means whey, so maybe it's some sort of whey powder, like you'd use to make Cheetos. More probably, it's some kind of pudding powder, since the Persians enjoy many kinds of milk pudding. Try scalding a couple of cups of milk (don't boil it) and add a little bit of the powder at a time. If it doesn't work, don't send me the bill!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Robert Sietsema
                          w
                          Wild4Food Sep 2, 2010 11:20 AM

                          Hey Derek,
                          Khak shir is not a spice. Its equivalent english name is a bit of a mistery but it seems to be Mugwort seeds (Artemisia vulgaris). It has various uses that I know of. It can be made into a sweet drink that will quench your thirst on a hot summer day or a warm drink (that ur mom gives you when you wake up in the morning on a hot summer day).
                          All joking aside, it is very effective in helping your gallbladder/liver cleanse, (im not sure about the exact scientific details behind this), I've also heard it helps with acne which i guess could be a byproduct of having a not-so-healthy liver. It's one of those funny medicines which helps with both constipation and diahrea and also vomiting but doesn't taste bad, in fact it doesn't taste at all if u wash it well enough.

                          Usage:
                          Method 1:
                          Basically you have to wash it off with water a few times (or a lot) to make sure its clean. then you can add a cool lemonade to it OR add sugar and cold water (optional: add rosewater and ice), stir it so the seeds are floating and drink it up. As kids we used to drink it with a straw cause it's easier to get the seeds.

                          Method 2:
                          Method2 is supposedly more effective for the gallbladder cleanse. you gotta drink it first thing in the morning and wait for it to settle for about 10-15 mins before you eat/drink anything else. So you boil water. As the water is boiling, wash off the seeds a few times to make sure they're clean. Add the seeds to a mug and pour the water in there (optional: a sugar crystal, that's what my mom used but i use normal sugar cause i don't know where to get that stuff). anyways, you wait for it to cool down to room temperature, stir it and drink up :).

                          Interesting fact which I just realized:
                          In the old days they used to say Khak shir helps get "the heat" out of your body. funny enough what they called "the heat" was produced by eating food like choclate, etc. which are fatty foods. These foods require lots of bile in order to emulsify, etc etc. long story short to actually be used in the body; which requires the liver and gallbladder to work. I guess those old folks did know something afterall. LOL.

                          Cheers

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