Lassi for My Wee Lassie

So, I have been putting Lakshmi, my new Preethi Eco Plus wet/dry grinder/mixie, through her paces, and in doing so, I decided that I need to make lassi.

I love lassi, which is originally a Punjabi drink featuring yogurt, which can appear in sweet or salty-savory flavors, is a summer favorite of mine, but I have never bothered to make it before. The reason was because I hate my blender–it doesn’t blend anything smoothly at all–unless you are dealing with already smooth stuff like ice cream. It takes forever to crush ice and it never whips anything very smoothly at all.

So, I just left my blender in the back of the cabinet and liked lassi from afar.

Ah, but this does not need to be the case anymore, for the Preethie Eco Plus comes with a 1.5 litre jar which is plenty big enough to make lassi, AND it turns out that the grinding capability of it is plenty strong enough to handle ice and frozen fruits.

Now we come to my recipe. Since I had never made lassi before, I looked at various recipes in my Indian cookbooks, as well as looking at various online sources. Strawberry isn’t really a traditional lassi flavor, but it is popular both here and on the Indian subcontinent, but since I wanted Kat to drink the lassi–which is my one guaranteed, surefire method of getting milk and yogurt in the girl in any amount (other than ice cream!) I wanted to make it with flavors that she already likes. No sense in trying mango on her when she isn’t so sure that she even likes mango yet. (She’s still on the fence with mango. I could eat it every day, but she sometimes eats it and sometimes refuses it. Toddlers.)

Since fresh strawberry season is past here in Ohio, I used frozen organic strawberries, and I neglected to thaw them out before starting. Most lassi recipes use yogurt, and some use milk, while others thin the drink with ice water. I chose milk. A few lassi recipes I have found are based on coconut milk rather than dairy products–considering how good coconut fat (lauric acid) is for developing brains and how much Kat loves coconut, I decided to go against tradition and use both dairy products and coconut milk in my version of the drink.

Two traditional flavoring agents, however, became integral to my lassi–ground cardamom and rosewater. As far as I am concerned, cardamom makes nearly anything better and I love rosewater with strawberries. It adds a depth of richness to their flavor that is hard to place if you are unfamiliar with the flavor, but which is unmistakable if you are an aficionado of good rosewater.

Finally, I used honey for a sweetener–and I used less than many recipes specify. I will give the amount I used, but you can use more or less to your taste. You could also use sugar, but I liked the flowery essence that local wildflower honey added to the drink.

So, how did the Preethi perform when it came to making lassi?

Perfectly. She ground up the ice cubes, and frozen strawberries with just the yogurt added as “lubricant.” No water was necessary. Then, I added everything else in, and within a bare minute, everything was blended into a pale pink, smooth froth of a drink.

How did it taste?

Like something that angels might sip on. Like nectar from heaven. Kat drank an entire cup of it herself and Zak and Dan and I took care of the rest–the recipe makes about 1.5 litres, which is enough for generous but not overwhelming portions for four adults and one toddler.

Strawberry Coconut Lassi
Ingredients:

10 ounces frozen strawberries–thawed (if you remember to)
6 ice cubes
1 quart plain yogurt, whole milk, preferably
3 tablespoons honey or to taste
7 ounces coconut milk (I used Chao Koh brand because it has such a fresh sweet taste and isn’t as rich as Mae Ploy)
3 ounces milk (I used 2%)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seed
1 tablespoon rosewater

Method:

Put the first three ingredients in the blender. Blend on medium speed to crush the ice and grind up the berries. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and starting on medium speed, then ending on high speed, whip the liquid into a delicious, frothy pink liquid.

Serve immediately over ice if you prefer. We drank ours sans ice. If you have any leftovers, which we did, you can put it into a tightly sealed quart-sized yogurt container and keep it in the fridge for a day. That is what we did, and it tasted, if anything, better the next day after the flavors had a chance to meld together.

3 Comments

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  1. First of all, this looks amazing–I LOVE lassis (although my favorite is the simple rosewater and I agree with Kat about mangoes even though my toddlers would agree with you, go figure) and could have them with every meal although I don’t. This looks really different and unique.

    Second, I always thought lassis were North Indian, as you say, but the South Indian restaurant in Columbus is big on lassis (3 flavors, all you can drink) –is that just a sign they spread all over India or is that restaurant not traditional in that respect, do you know?

    Third, I am fascinated by your comment regarding the 2 coconut milks. I guess I never noticed before and in the past I have always either used both or all chao koh, and the last time I made red curry (Thai) all I had was mae ploy and my goodness it was thick and more cream than water. So I guess you are saying that wasn’t a fluke. Good to know. :)

    Glad to hear your Preethi is working well–when you do your bigger review please include comments on which model you would suggest if we already own a blender that works fine (i.e., on ice).

    Comment by Laura — July 20, 2009 #

  2. Lassi started in Punjab, and has since spread all over North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh…and now has spread to the south and is popular in the southern states of India as well.

    Folks who drink milk and use dairy products all over the subcontinent love lassi–so you can find both northern and southern style recipes in books and all over the net.

    As for the coconut milks–Mae Ploy is always thicker and richer than Chao Koh. For certain curries I only use the former–ones that I like to be extra specially creamy, like green curry, for example. Others, I use only Chao Koh–like Thai yellow curry, which I like to be thinner and lightly sweeter.

    And then, for my Tom Kha Gai, I mix the two, and then thin out the soup with chicken broth. The two combined make the perfect tom kha gai–sweet and rich without being too thick.

    Comment by Barbara — July 20, 2009 #

  3. That looks so good. I’m very jealous of your Preethi too. My question is: will you now keep your blender too? Does the Preethi do it all? What about a food processor?

    Comment by Molly — July 20, 2009 #

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