In India lassi is the official drink of hot summer months. A tall glass of icy cool lassi refreshes the body and spirit and gives relief from the hot winds and an even hotter sun.
Lassi is usually made with full fat yogurt but I make my yogurt with 1% milk. I don't think it alters the taste very much but there is no doubt the full fat yougurt lassi tastes better. Of course it is also not as thick. A friend living in Haryana tells me the milk and yogurt there is the best in the world.
Like all things Indian, the method of preparing lassi also varies from state to state and family to family. Some prefer meethi (sweet) lassi, some charkhi (salty) lassi. Some like it so thick you have to scoop it with a spoon. Some prefer a thiner version you can gulp down.
My aunt in Bombay puts crushed ice and vanilla essence in it. My mom always made it with roasted cumin powder, black salt and sugar.
For a spicier version she would add a green chilli and a piece of ginger. One may contest that at this point it stops being lassi and becomes mattha (buttermilk). But as the bard put it so precisely -- "what's in a name? Lassi by any other name is still lassi." And tastes as good.
So here is to tall refreshing glasses of lassi to tide us over the summer months. Cheers!
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup of cold water
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
pinch of black salt (optional)
pinch of salt
Blend all the ingredients in a blender for two mins or till frothy. Sprinkle cumin powder on top.
For charkhi lassi
Add 1 green chilli and 1/2 " inch of ginger root
Blend all the ingredients in a blender.