The first days of spring usually means two things: time to stuff the winter clothes away, and the start of many months of extensive blender use. Sure, during the winter I break out the blender now and then, for ginger tea, homemade almond milk, and all that good stuff. But when the sun is beating down on my face anytime I go outside before 6, I develop serious cravings for cold frothy drinks. Daily cravings.
I love getting mango lassis at Indian restaurants, so I tried my hand at making them at home. Jenny Lou's, one of Beijing's import stores, carries tubs of fresh, locally made, and sugarless yogurt (for less than 7 kuai) that's better than the big brand yogurts around China. My mango lassis was pretty basic: just yogurt, sugar, chunks of ripe mango, and a pinch of cardamom. Then I tried making a coconut lime lassi, which probably isn't even a traditional flavor, though I've seen it on restaurant menus here and there.
(Apparently sweet lassis are more of a recent invention. Salted lassis, cumin lassis, and saffron lassis are more popular in certain regions of India. If anyone can confirm, or know of a recipe, please share!)
As for the coconut lime lassi, I made the mistake at first of putting in 1 part coconut milk to 1 part yogurt. It tasted just like thick coconut cream with a hint of sourness, a little too heavy. I adjusted the portions, reblended, and it turned out great.
Mango and Cardamom Lassi
Makes 2 drinks
1 large ripe mango, cut into chunks 1 1/2 cups yogurt 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Put mango, yogurt, sugar, and cardamom in a blender. Blend until even and frothy, about 30 seconds. Add more sugar until it's sweet enough to your liking. Pour into a pitcher or glasses and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. When ready, sprinkle some extra cardomom on top, then serve.
Coconut and Lime Lassi
Makes 2 drinks
1/2 cup coconut milk 1 1/2 cups yogurt 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste Juice from 1 lime Thinly sliced lime circles for garnish, optional
Put coconut milk, yogurt, sugar, and lime juice in a blender. Blend until even and frothy, about 30 seconds. Add more sugar until it's sweet enough to your liking. Pour into a pitcher or glasses and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Both the mango and coconut lassis will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. However, if you're going to let the coconut lassi chill in the fridge for a few hours or more, the coconut liquid is going to separate from the cream again, just as it does in the tin. So shake the lassi up if that happens.