Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mango Lassi: The Original Fruit Smoothie?

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks in India a few years ago, and while I was there I made it a point to indulge in a glass of mango lassi on an almost-daily basis. Mango lassi is a refreshing--and filling--traditional Indian beverage made with fresh, ripe mango and yogurt. Many Indian restaurants will offer mango lassi and plain or salted lassi. Although it wasn't the peak of mango season during my stay in Bangalore, the available fresh Indian mangoes were nevertheless honey-sweet, with an indescribably lush and complex tropical flavor. And the homemade Indian yogurt was luxuriously rich and thick (most definitely not fat-free!), with a voluptuous mouthfeel and sassy tartness that paired perfectly with the mango. If you love mangoes and enjoy smoothies but have never tried mango lassi, I highly recommend it as a satisfying breakfast beverage, filling snack, or drinkable summertime dessert. It also helps tame the fiery heat of Indian food and other spicy fare.

I've tried my hand at making mango lassi at home, and it's very easy. If you can make a smoothie, you can make lassi. Although I can't replicate exactly the indulgent treat I enjoyed in India, my version will satisfy my craving and I can also make a healthier version by using low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Greek style yogurt works best, but you can also strain regular yogurt to make it thicker. And for a thinner consistency, use milk instead. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the mango, removing the pit and chopping it for the blender. To save time--or if fresh, ripe mango isn't available--you can use the mango slices you find in jars in the produce aisle of many grocery stores these days. This recipe makes about 4 glasses, and you can multiply it to make more or adjust the ingredient amounts to your taste/thickness preference. If desired, you can garnish each glass with a light dusting of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, or even fresh organic rose petals.

1 cup of fresh mango, diced
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs (or to taste) fresh lime or lemon juice
Opt: a few drops of rose-petal water (found in Indian groceries and specialty-foods shops)
Ice cubes

Combine the mango and yogurt in a blender and process until smooth. Add the orange juice, lime or lemon juice, honey and rose-petal water if using, and blend to combine. If it's too thick, add a little ice-cold water and blend. Taste for balance, and add more honey or lime/lemon juice if desired. Blend until thick and frothy, and serve in glasses over ice cubes.

Zestfully yours,

No comments:

Post a Comment