About Lassi And Some Lassi Recipes
Pakistani cuisine is as diverse as its people. Among the drinks or beverages consumed in Pakistan, lassi, is quite popular. It is a traditional Pakistani dairy beverage, originally from Punjab, made by blending yoghurt with water, salt, and spices (depending on the type of lassi) until the drink becomes frothy. It is consumed by over one billion Asians throughout the world. With its smooth, cool and refreshing taste, it is the perfect accompaniment to the hot and spicy flavours that epitomise Pakistani cuisine. This traditional drink is economical and plentiful in Pakistan, where cows and buffalo provide an overflow of dairy-based recipes. Traditional lassi is sometimes flavoured with ground roasted cumin. In Punjab lassi sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, clotted cream. Lassi is enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a folk remedy for gastroenteritis.Lassi was once the preserve of India's Maharajas. It is mentioned in ancient Indian texts and was widely used in Hindu rituals. In old times, people would have lassi because they wouldn't get hungry quickly afterward; and they could wait until lunch to eat again. Tart and refreshing, lassi serves to cleanse the palate alongside spicier foods. It aids digestion and is a healthy addition to any balanced diet. Lassi is 100 per cent natural and is free from artificial colourings, preservatives and flavourings. Besides offering health benefits, lassi is also indulgent and can be enjoyed with or between meals.There are many types of lassi that are now available. Sweet lassi is a more recent invention, and has become immensely popular. Rose water is a common ingredient for sweet lassi and adds a sweet, perfumed aroma. Sweet lassi can be flavoured with any fruit of choice like mango, pineapple, banana, lychee, strawberry, etc.The traditional lassi is a salty yoghurt drink which has a thicker consistency as compared to buttermilk. It can be savoured with various spices and ingredients, but it almost always includes ground cumin powder.Salty lassi is not only extremely easy and quick to make but also very refreshing and cooling to beat the heat of summer.
- 3 cups plain yoghurt
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 fresh green chilli, seeded and very finely chopped
- ½ tsp ground cumin seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh cilantro (coriander) or mint leaves to decorate
- Crushed ice to serve
Pour the yoghurt and water into a blender and blend for one minute. Add in chilli, cumin, salt and pepper and blend together. Serve over crushed ice.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cumin powder and finely chopped coriander or mint.
Plain Sweet Lassi
- 1 green cardamom pod
- 100 ml natural unsweetened yoghurt
- 1½ tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp rose water
- 200 ml cold water
- 4 mint leaves
Use the back of a spoon to gently crush a green cardamom pod, until it splits. Remove the seeds with your fingers, and put the seeds into a mixing bowl or jug, along with the yoghurt, sugar, rose water and water. Use a blender to blend the mixture into a smooth paste. Pour into glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Here are some other flavours of lassi:
- 150 gm ice cube, crushed well
- 150 ml ice water
- 150 gm natural yoghurt
- 2 very ripened banana, peeled and
- roughly chopped
- 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
- 1 pod crushed cardamom
Blend all of the above ingredients together in a blender. Served chilled and garnish with slices of banana.
- 3½ cup fresh strawberry, trimmed and
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom, rounded
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 cups plain yoghurt (whole milk or low-fat)
- 1 cup ice cubes
Blend strawberries with sugar, cardamom and a pinch of salt until smooth. Add yoghurt and ice, then mash until smooth again.
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- ½ cup mango pulp or pieces of mango
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 3 tbsp sugar / use sugar substitute if desired
Blend all of the above ingredients. Add a little water if the consistency is too thick. Keep refrigerated. Serve chilled. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Lassi is a versatile drink which allows you to experiment with different flavours. Only the yoghurt, sugar, water and ice are the basic ingredients that remain the same. Don't be afraid to make your own lassi using a combination of fruits or things you love. Use lemon zest for lemon lassi, try an apple-mango lassi, add some chopped nuts in your lassi, use a vanilla pod or extract to make vanilla lassi then you can add a swirl of chocolate in it, add a hint of nutmeg to it...use less water, freeze it and you have a frozen dessert - lassi ice cream! The variations are endless so have fun and customise you lassi!
Some interesting lassi facts:
- Lassi is called MAHI in Nepal.
- Lassi may be prepared either from whole or skimmed yoghurt. When yoghurt, made from whole milk, is churned by traditional methods, the butter yield is much below the theoretical level. As a matter of fact, the fat globules are scattered in the liquid phase and the losses of fat in buttermilk are more important than when butter is made from cream. However, lassi prepared from soured skimmed milk has a weaker taste and flavour than that prepared from the buttermilk obtained from yoghurt made from whole milk.
- Lassi is also of great importance in diet. It contains fat, protein, lactose, ash, calcium, phosphorus. So it has a great nutritional value.
- Regular consumption of lassi reduces the chances of your hair going white before time.