Mango Lassi is nothing but a chilled smoothie made with mango and yogurt. It is sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey and at times a pinch of cardamom or rose-water is added to enhance the flavor.
The mighty mangoes, rightfully dubbed as the king of fruits, were perhaps the best part of growing up in the tropical parts of India where sweltering summer heat is unforgiving. Many varieties of mangoes are available during the short span of 3 months during summer. However, I did not drink Mango Lassi until later, while on a trip to the northern parts of India.
Glimpses of my childhood
I spent the first 8 years of my life in a joint family set-up, thronged by cousins and relatives from different age groups. Schools would be out for almost six weeks during summer. Most afternoons, the young ones would be stowed away in a cool and hushed corner of our house, all tuckered out from playing all morning followed by a heavy meal of rice and fish. We would lie down on the mats (madur, made from reeds) laid on the cool concrete floors. Whenever there wasn’t a power cut or ‘load-shedding’, an aging fan powered by DC (direct current) dangling from the high ceilings would send waves of cooling breeze our way… and many a times the monotonous hum of the slow-moving ceiling fan would lull us to sleep. Our moms and aunts would be armed with hand fans (haath-pakha) to make sure that the steady flow of cooling breeze doesn’t get disrupted in the event of an untimely power-cut which were just too common back then.
Air-conditioner wasn’t even a thing then and refrigerators were just about becoming a fixture in middle class households.
But I don’t think we minded the heat much. My childhood memories are full of happy frames which pop up in my head – I am always surrounded by smiling faces and doting relatives with laughter and innocence ringing in the background. Growing up in the eighties in a country which was just emerging from the crippling effects of being colonized by the British and opening up to the dazzling developments of the west, we were fortunate enough to experience the best of both worlds.
This country has many good things to offer, but mangoes aren’t one of those good things. No, I am not being spiteful – I can, in no way, disrespect any country. Mango is essentially an exotic fruit that hails from the hot and humid tropical parts of the world. I usually pick up Ataulfo mangoes from Costco (these hail from Mexico) which are not too sweet as I would like them for me to eat them just as is, but these are just perfect to make salads, salsas and the occasional Mango Lassi. I mostly use frozen mangoes when I am making smoothies.
Smoothies are a new addition to the 7.5 yo’s food adventures and he is especially fond of Mango Lassi.
Ingredient for Mango Lassi: (serves 2)
1 1/2 cups of ripe mango, chopped
1 cup of whole milk yogurt or 3/4 Cup of Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp of cardamom powder
1 tbsp. of chilled water (if using hung curd or Greek Yogurt)
Handful of ice
Raw Organic Honey to taste if your mangoes are not sweet enough
A fat pinch of organic turmeric (since I add turmeric to almost everything nowadays)
How to make Mango Lassi
Since I used Greek Yogurt, I thinned it down with a little chilled water. Dump everything in the blender and blend away to glory, till every thing comes together.