January 27th, 2007
I think yogurt (and to some degree, strawberries) might be one of those foods one either loves or hates. As it happens, I am a lover of both. And since I thoroughly enjoy most things smoothie, I welcomed this new variation with open arms. What better way to get a couple of servings of fruit and a good dose of acidophilus all at once.
While many people in America are well familiar with smoothies, I’ve not met many who have heard of this little known delight. Lassi is a traditional South Asian beverage, said to be originally from Punjab, India, Pakistan. The basic lassi, enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment, is made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. The traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin. I’m told that the Lassi of the Punjab sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream.
The sweet lassi, flavored with sugar, rosewater and/or lemon, mango, strawberry, peach or other fruit, is a more recent concoction. My first introduction came at a visit to a local Indian restaurant a few years ago where I was served a most delicious mango lassi as a light after-dinner dessert. I suppose the variations of this delightful fruit-yogurt blend are as numerous as the imagination, but my favourites at the moment are mango and strawberry.
Strawberry Lassi Recipe
Source: Adapted from Fresh Indian, p. 150
Serves 2 to 4 | Vegetarian
1-1/2 cup fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 cups plain, low-fat yogurt
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (see note above)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons rosewater
A pinch of salt
Purée fresh strawberries with cardamom, and a pinch of salt in a blender until smooth. Add yogurt, rosewater, milk and frozen strawberries, continue to purée until frothy and smooth. Serve immediately.
Recipe note: Most recipes call for ice cubes, I prefer frozen strawberries. I also use sweetened condensed milk in lieu of sugar.