Lassi is a super refreshing, creamy and thick yogurt based drink from North Indian Cuisine. Refresh yourself anytime with this cool and creamy lassi, which is also a great way to get the power of yogurt throughout your busy day. Not only is a lassi super delicious but is also great for your digestive health making you feel the best!!
Though lassi originated in Punjab, India, it is enjoyed all over the country & across the world as a refreshment. You will find lassi being made not only in the North Indian households but is also served in restaurants, dhabas, cafes, street stalls & pretty much everywhere in the Indian Subcontinent.
Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink that’s popular in North India. Made with yogurt, water or milk & various seasonings, it can be made to a either sweet or salty drink. Sweet Lassi has ingredients like sugar, ground cardamoms and some times milk or cream. Salt lassi has simple ingredients like salt and water.
In this post I share with you lassi recipe with 3 different flavors. You will find numerous flavor variations like kesar lassi, mango lassi, gulkand lassi, fruit and nut lassi, paan lassi & the list is endless … You will find a lot of street vendors selling lassi in clay cups known as kullad/ kulhar. Most often these are garnished with fresh cream or butter.
Traditionally it is made with a wooden churner or whisk known as mathani. In the modern times, most people use a steel whisk or a blender. Lassi gets the best texture by churning curd with a mathani and not by blending.
Now that most of us won’t have this, we use a handheld whisk, milk frother, an electric mixing rod, immersion blender or just a fork.
Most Indian homes set yogurt at home regularly so it is obvious that we use homemade curd for making lassi. Fresh set curd, that’s not sour is best for this recipe. But even store bought yogurt is good to use.
Sweet lassi, as the name says, is sweet in taste and is more like a dessert drink. The thick super rich and creamy texture contributes to heaviness of the drink. It is flavoured with cardamom powder but saffron & rose water also go well.
Traditionally, sweet lassi is served with white butter or cream that forms over the yogurt. So the drink is on the heavier side & you can consider that as a rich creamy dessert drink.
My recipe will give you a lighter version of what you get in the North Indian restaurants. Delicious, thick and lighter, yet satisfies your cravings for a chilled yogurt dessert drink. This version can be taken ahead to create many flavor variations as below:
Add some pistachios and saffron to make this a Kesar Pista Lassi.
Go with some dry fruits and nuts like dried figs, pista and almonds, you will make a Dry Fruit Lassi.
Add some Gulkand & betel leaves or a sweet pan to make Paan Lassi.
You will also get to see sweet lassi with numerous toppings like ice creams, rabdi, khoya & even sorbet in the restaurants & street stalls. For a homemade version you can simply garnish it with some sliced nuts if you prefer or just with saffron strands.
Though sugar is the widely used sweetener here, it can be replaced with any other like honey. Lot of people also use milk or cream to make lassi but I don’t. Just use full fat yogurt for that creamy taste.
Salt lassi is by far the healthiest of all the versions as there is no added sweetener. But it is still thick, creamy and not as heavy as the sweet version. This is flavored with roasted cumin seed powder which is known as bhuna jeera powder.
Salted lassi is believed to aid digestion as it is flavoured with cumin and black salt. My recipe also uses a small amount of chaat masala for that extra zing.
While salted lassi may look similar to Chaas, but it is not as the consistency of lassi is thicker than chaas.
Lemon mint lassi is the third flavor that is made time & again in my home. Because it is healthier and we want to use up the excess mint leaves we have after making biryani.
This is also the most refreshing lassi that is also healthy, light and helps you digest food easily after a heavy meal.
Lemon and mint are never added to the traditional salted lassi but believe me this is great to enjoy on a hot summer day. Keeps you cool naturally.
How to Make Sweet Lassi (Stepwise Photos)
I prefer to make it in a bowl, just by whisking. It won’t need you to put a lot of effort. However you may use a blender, just add all the ingredients & blend until frothy, making sure not to over do.
1. Add 2 cups chilled curd to a deep bowl or a blender. Do note that using sour curd may need addition of milk and more sugar. I do not prefer the combination of curd and milk together. So I ensure to use fresh curd.
2. Whisk it well until smooth. You should not see any grainy yogurt. I used a whisk here. You can also use a immersion blender or mixing rod.
3. Next add 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 pinch of saffron strands or 1 teaspoon rosewater. If you do not have saffron strands or rose water, simply skip both.
4. Add ½ to ¾ teaspoon cardamom powder. I removed the husks of the 10 whole green cardamoms & powdered them with little sugar in a grinder. Use only a bit for this.
How to Make Salty Lassi
1. On a low heat, dry roast jeera/ cumin seeds until they begin to smell good and aromatic. Cool them completely and powder finely in a spice jar.
2. Whisk 2 cups chilled curd in a bowl or jug. Add half teaspoon black salt or Himalayan salt and ½ to 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder. Whisk everything well until smooth.