Indian Fruit Lassi Recipes
The Indian lassi is the perfect hot summer drink and nothing puts out the heat from spicy curries and other chile spiked barbecue sauces than a chilled lassi. A traditional beverage from Punjab, India, the lassi is a thick frothy refreshing yogurt drink like a milk shake. Only it is quicker and easier to make.
Some are sweet and fruity while others are savory. All contain plain yogurt, and some are enriched with Devonshire cream, whipping cream, ice cream, and even butter. Fruit lassis usually contain the pulp or thick juice from mangos, strawberries, bananas, or citrus, and are sweetened with either sugar or honey. Savory lassis can be made with salt, pepper, roasted cumin, turmeric, saffron, and other spices. The Bhang Lassi contains a liquid derivative of cannabis. Bogart that.
By far the most famous is the Mango Lassi, and it can be found on the menu of most Indian restaurants in the US. It is typically made by cutting the pulp out of a soft low pulp mango, like the Alphonso, and blending it with yogurt and honey, then straining. Since ripe Alphonsos are rarely found outside Indian groceries (most US grocery mangos are Julies), I recommend using mango nectar, a thick mango juice. You can use any thick fruit nectar for that matter. In the Chicago area where I live, the Jumex brand is widely available, as are several from Poland. I recently made Lassis with a peach nectar from Poland and everyone drank so many they were too full for dinner.
You can simplify things even more by just getting fruit flavored yogurt, adding about 1/4 it's volume in milk, a pinch of salt as a flavor enhancer, and whip it up in the blender.
By the way, anytime you have a problem with an Indian recipe such as this, just call Citibank or AOL customer service 800 numbers. Straight through to Mombai. On first try I found a very helpful young lady who, after a giggle or two, confirmed that you are allowed to make lassis from nectar if fresh fruit is not available.
For more lassi ideas go to Indianfoodforever.com
Fruit Lassi Recipe
Makes: Just a bit more than 1 quart
Preparation: 10 minutes
3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup fruit nectar
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
About the yogurt. The richness of full fat yogurt is classic, but you can still make delicious lassis with lowfat or no fat yogurt.
About the fruit nectar. Go for fruit nectar, not fruit juice. You can use fresh mangos, bananas, peaches, strawberries, whatever, but you will need to run them through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp. You may also need to add more sweetener. If it is too thick add milk. Frankly, I go for the nectar. Easier.
About the salt. I know salt is not traditional and it seems out of place, but it really brings depth to the flavors.
About the sugar. You can also use honey if you wish. It adds an interesting complexity.
Optional flavorings. Even sweet lassis often have a touch of spice. Try this one with 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder, ground cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. Fresh mint is a nice addition.
Optional garnishes. Top with 1 ounce ground green unsalted pistachios or cashews or chop fresh fruit and toss it on top.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Whip, taste, adjust, and pour into a tall glass and sprinkle the ground nuts over the top. Serve with a straw. It can also be poured over crushed ice.
This page was revised 5/10/2009
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