Thursday, June 26, 2008

Recipe : Lassi - Indian Yoghurt Drink

This is a staple in most Indian households during the hot summer months. It cools down the body completely and can be had in sweet or salty versions. There are so many flavors that you can add to the basic lassi. Below are a few versions to get you started.
Whisk together 450ml yoghurt (plain) with 300ml cold water. The consistency should be that of full cream milk. This is your basic lassi. Very similar in fact to the Turkish - Ayran - but in my opinion, the lassi is more flavourful.
Flavor with a pinch of ginger or 1 sliced green chilli or cumin powder or a teaspoon of shredded mint or a teaspoon of chopped cilantro. Stir well. You can add salt to taste.
For a sweet version, add sugar to taste (about 1 teaspoon) to the yoghurt and water blend. You can flavor it with a dash of rose essence or orange blossom water.
For a really fancy lassi, garnish the sweet version with a tablespoon of crushed almonds or pistachios.
For a healthy and sweet lassi, whisk the mixture with 2 tablespoons of pureed fruit.
The best lassis are served in the Sindh/Punjab area of India. The version of lassi that you will be served here will also be very high on malai (the cream that forms on the top when boiling milk) When I request the malai to be removed from my lassi in the Punjab area my glass turns half empty! Thats how much cream is added to the drink!
More interesting stories about lassi: When Washing machines were first introduced in the Punjab region they weren't selling too well, as the tough Punjabi women did not think that a machine could give the clothes the beating and scrubbing required to turn them clean.
An enterprising salesman then sold the top loading machines as lassi churners and showed the women how to use the spin cycle to churn up some really frothy lassis!

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