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Lassi: A traditional favourite
by Savia Rajagopal
Sunday, September 28, 2008 6:28 PM
Lassi is a yoghurt-based beverage that's perfect as an accompaniment for an authentic South Asian meal.

A traditional South Asian beverage, the lassi is on the menus of restaurants everywhere. But you don’t have to go all the way out to a restaurant to sample this delicious and refreshing drink. You can whip up a no-fuss lassi in a few minutes right in the comfort of your own home.

Made using yoghurt and different ingredients to create different flavours, a lassi can be custom-made to suit your own food preferences. It is thicker than the consistency of buttermilk or chaas. Typically seasoning like cumin powder are added to a lassi to give the drink flavour and spice.


Simple Lassi

An authentic lassi is simply yoghurt whipped with cold water or a little milk to create a frothy drink that is cool and great for the digestive system. There are different versions of a simple lassi.

Salty: Blend together a cup of plain yoghurt and a cup of cold milk with half a cup of ice cubes (add more if you want a very chilled drink that is served immediately). Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds or cumin powder and salt as per your taste. Top with a spoon of malai (cream) or yoghurt and garnish with coriander leaves.

Sweet: If you crave something sweet after your meals, why not skip dessert altogether? Instead, make a sweet lassi that is sweet and yet, not as high in calories as a heavy dessert. For a sweet after-meal drink, blend yoghurt, water and ice cubes till the mixture is frothy. Add sugar to suit your taste buds, and whip again till the sugar is completely dissolved. Add some cilantro for garnish.

Rose Lassi: Another popular option for lassi is a rose-flavoured lassi that is supposedly very beneficial after a heavy meal. It aids is digestion and soothes the stomach after a spicy meal. A good quality rose syrup is absolutely essential to give the lassi an authentic flavour. Blend yoghurt with ice cubes, along with a tablespoon of rose syrup and a ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder. A few drops of vanilla essence enhances the overall flavour of this drink. Mix well and serve chilled.


Mint Lassi

Pudina or mint has always been a popular option to garnish a lassi. But there are some who enjoy a minty, cool lassi in its entirety. So for this recipe, the main ingredient is... no guess there... mint! 5-6 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves are blended with plain yoghurt and ice cubes. Rock salt gives this lassi a savoury taste as does powdered cumin seeds.


Fruit Lassi

A modern twist on the traditional lassi involves adding different fruits to create unique flavoured drinks. Without doubt, a hit in summer, lassis can be had year around as they are interesting to have over a home-made meal with friends or as an after-meal treat on a weekday night.

Mango Lassi

Fresh mango is preferable for this recipe but if it’s not available, mango pulp works just fine. Put mango pulp with yoghurt and ice cubes into a blender. When using canned mango pulp, pick a brand that is not as fibrous for a smoother lassi. If the pulp is fibrous, strain it to get rid of the fibre. Add sugar to taste and cardamom powder for flavour.

You can create an interesting flavour by adding lime juice to this recipe for a sweet, citric taste.

Other fruit lassi ideas:

Using the same recipe as above, you can customize your beverage to create a cool, energizing drink.

You can make a banana lassi, strawberry lassi, lychee lassi or even put together different fruits like mango and passion fruit. Use your imagination and create delicious drinks that never fail to satisfy your palate.

Tips for a low-fat version!

Use low-fat or fat-free yoghurt as a basic ingredient in your lassi

Add water instead of milk when blending.

Skip the heavy cream as garnish.

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