A lassi is a very popular yogurt based drink that originates in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. They somewhat resemble a milkshake or smoothie and are made the same way, by blending the ingredients. There are savory or salted lassi and sweet lassi made with fruits. The salted lassi are made with yogurt, water, salt and can have some spices and even rose water added. The sweet versions are made the same way as the salted versions just omitting the salt and adding fruit and a sweetener. You may have noticed that at most western Indian restaurants mango lassi is typically found in these restaurants. And it’s no surprise or coincidence, the reason is that they are the perfect drink to have when eating spicy dishes. The yogurt neutralizes the acid and heat in the spicy dish and so your mouth will feel completely cooled after biting into your vindaloo or curry. Trust me, I know from experience about this because even if I don’t drink a lassi with dinner and instead have a yogurt for dessert after a spicy meal I feel completely cooled down. (More tips on how to enjoy spicy foods coming in another post.)
While the mango lassi is probably the most well know sweet lassi to us in the West, I have also found variations of all sorts online. I think the Lassi is one of those drinks or recipes that is about customizing it to your own palette. If any Indian readers or lassi experts out there think otherwise leave me a comment and educate me a little. With that in mind I have experimented with both the amounts and with different fruits. So feel free to experiment and have a little fun with your lassi. I’m no expert but I do know that they taste phenomenal and are also a great thirst quencher. Don’t feel so “guilty” about the calories (if you are a calorie counter) a lassi is still lower in calories than a chocolate milkshake — oh and don’t forget bananas are nature’s perfect food and extremely good for your body.
- 1 cup plain white and unsweetened yogurt (I make my own with this recipe)
- 2 large banana, peeled and sliced
- pinch ground cardamom
- cold water, optional see note*
- honey to taste, optional
- ice cubes, optional
- Peel and roughly slice the banana then place in a blender. Next add the yogurt, cardamom and the honey if using, blend until the banana is completely broken down and ingredients are well blended. At this time you can check the consistency of the Lassi and see if you would like to add water to thin out, then blend again for a minute.
- Serve straight away with a few ice cubes. Another way I’ve experimented is on a really hot summer day I use the ice cubes by adding them at the beginning of the blending so they break down and blend well with the other ingredients. This makes a very cold and refreshing lassi too.
Ah yummy memories of earlier today as I sat by the window enjoying my book and cooling off with my banana lassi on a beautifully sunny and hot summer day, this is the life!