Image courtesy Brijen Raval on Facebook
In the US for some absurd reason I keep coming across Mango Lassi. Especially in North Indian restaurants, the beverage intrigues me. Mango is special to India and as such we put it in anything during the Summer. There are two separate Mango dishes that this Lassi combines and it confuses me.
Mango (milk) Shakes during the summer are heavenly. If they are made of Alphonso Mangoes and the milk is chilled, the shake turns out to be perfect. Unlike the West, in India, ice cream isn’t, or at least wasn’t an ingredient till McDonald’s and their so-thick-cannot-be-sucked-through-straw shakes happened. Essentially, Mango Shake is milk+sugar+fresh sliced Mango+ice, blend it together and enjoy.
The other dish I’ve grown up eating is the Mango Curd. (Curd=yogurt.) Like flavored yogurt in the US, Mango Curd is sugar, curd and sliced Mango. It goes well with spicy North Indian dishes. Then comes the Lassi. Lassi is basically sweet or spicy curd as per taste and availability of ingredients. Traditionally not blended but hand churned (I’ve done it at home) Lassi is refreshing. Which brings me to this so called Mango Lassi phenomenon in the West, fwiw, I am certain it’s the NRIs who came up with this… This so called Mango Lassi feels like a Mango Shake but falls short since it isn’t prepared as a milk shake. And since it is a Lassi, the true dhabbe-wali Lassi remains elusive, instead you get this fake drink which should’ve been flavored yogurt.
So the next time you have this Mango Lassi, don’t be fooled; it’s as Indian as a second generation NRI.