SEEMA Cooks: Lassi

Lassi
Image credits: Tiago Rosado via Unsplash

This refreshing, cooling and yummy smoothie can calm your nerves and beat the heat instantly. Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that’s silky, flavorful and thick. No occasion is complete without a lassi stall. Its consistency is between milk and milkshake. It cools your body and stomach, and one glass is enough.

Origins

Lassi is perhaps the first yogurt based drink in the world. This ancient drink with a creamy texture and sweet and sour taste dates way back in the pages of history. It originated in 1000 BC in Punjab, India. yogurt came around in 5000 BC in Mesopotamia.

This was when there was a trade route between India and Mesopotamia. Before it came into existence, a mixture of yogurt and honey was often known as the food of the almighty. Therefore, many people say that it is the predecessor of lassi and is popular even today.

When there were no refrigerators and coolers, the Punjabi farmers kept their milk in a clay pot so it would remain cold. Then, they added sugar and curd to this pot, mixed everything and drank it. This was the origin of the traditional and authentic lassi.

As the recipe spread widely across the nation, there were several variations to this drink. With the wide availability of fruits, people started adding them to lassi. It gave a beautiful color as well as flavor to the drink.

As time passed, spices were found in lassi. Firstly, everything in India is incomplete without spices. Secondly, the Ayurvedic properties of herbs are too good as they have calming and healing properties. Nowadays, lassi is made with yogurt or buttermilk and topped with fruits like mangoes and strawberries. So, if you are looking for an authentic lassi recipe, we have it here for you.

How to make lassi

Wondering how lassi is made? Well, this Indian yogurt drink is made of simple ingredients like yogurt, milk, sugar, ice and cardamom. Since lassi is a probiotic drink, yogurt is the most important ingredient as it contains gut-friendly bacteria. Moreover, this Indian drink has many variations, but the base ingredients and procedure remain the same.

Whisking the curd or yogurt, adding milk and sugar and blending them is the basic process for making lassi. With tiny changes in the ingredients, you can make it sweet, salty, a mango lassi or strawberry lassi. For this recipe, you can either use homemade curd or get it from the store, whatever you would like.

If you wish to make your drink low fat and light, you can also opt for Greek yogurt. However, remember that lassi is known for being thick and extra creamy. Indian lassi has either milk or water to dilute the yogurt and adjust its consistency. Use milk to make the typical heavy lassi recipe; otherwise, use water.

These are the fundamental ingredients of lassi and the rest of them vary according to your preferences. For a mithi drink, rose water, sugar, cardamom and dry fruits are great ingredients. On the other hand, use cumin powder, fresh mint and black salt for making a salty variant. Finally, use strawberries, mangoes or pineapples to make the fruity Amritsari kind. If you wonder how lassi is made, we have an easy recipe for you in the upcoming sections. But before we talk about the recipes of sweet and salty lassi, let’s share the list of ingredients used in each, also called mithi and namkeen lassi.

Sweet Lassi

INGREDIENTS

  • Two cups yogurt
  • Four tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup water or milk
  • Half tsp cardamom powder
  • Half tsp rosewater (optional)
  • 6-7 saffron strands (optional)
  • Crushed almonds and pistachios

METHOD

Salty Lassi

  1. Add your yogurt to a bowl and whisk with a wire whisk.
  2. Add the sugar and taste the yogurt for sourness, adding more sugar until the sourness has gone. Whisk till the sugar is dissolved
  3. Add milk or water to the yogurt and sugar mixture.
  4. Add less water or milk if you want it thick. Otherwise, keep adding gradually till you achieve desired consistency.
  5. Use an immersion blender – or a regular blender or traditional mathani – to blend the mixture.
  6. Add cardamom powder, rose water and saffron to make the lassi more flavorful and colorful. You can skip them, too.
  7. Again blend the lassi till you start seeing foam on the surface. Transfer into a glass, top it with some crushed pistachios, saffron strands or dry fruits of your choice.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 3/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp black salt
  • 3/4 cup water or milk
  • Mint leaves (optional)

METHOD

In salty lassi, instead of sugar, add cumin powder and black salt to the whisked yogurt. Otherwise, the steps are the same.

Whisk it again and thin it out using water or milk. Use the immersion blender till the foam is ready. Put the lassi in a glass, top it with some roasted cumin powder and mint leaves.

Notes

  • If you want to know how to make lassi at home, it depends on your personal choice. You can add mangoes, strawberries and other fruits of your choice.
  • While mixing the ingredients in the blender, add chopped fruit of your preference and blend it. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
  • For those who like plain sweet lassi, skip the toppings and only add yogurt, milk, sugar and cardamom.
  • Do not store lassi for more than two days in the refrigerator. If you are not serving it instantly, add some ice cubes to it and keep it in the fridge. Before serving the lassi, add the toppings and serve it cold.

For more heat-oriented SEEMA Cooks, check out SEEMA Cooks: Chaas for the Summer