New York City is home to one of the largest Indian populations in the US. From Hindi radio stations to theaters that play Bollywood films straight from India, this East Asian culture makes up a large part of the melting pot we call the Big Apple. Brooklyn is home to many Indian restaurants that serve delicious and authentic Indian food.
One of the most recognized Indian beverages by natives and Brooklynites alike is lassi. This refreshing and delicious drink originates from the northernmost region of India called Punjab. It is made from yogurt, water, and either spices or fruit. The traditional version of lassi is savory with a rich salty taste that is sometimes combined with roasted ground cumin. It is similar to the Turkish aryan yogurt drink.
Sweet lassi is made without spices and with sugar and fruit instead. Variations include sweet mint, rosewater with lemon and strawberry lassis. Mango lassi is gaining popularity outside of India in places like Brooklyn where you can find it on almost every Indian restaurant dessert menu. It is made with yogurt, water, and mango pulp, served either with or without sugar. Mango lassi is widely available and popular in not only the US, but in the UK and Canada as well where it is served topped with ground pistachios.
Other versions of lassi include a rich saffron version and a buttery version that tastes a lot like a milkshake. Bhang lassi is only available in India and Nepal and is a legal narcotic elixir made from a mixture of lassi and hashish. It is widely available during the Indian holiday of Holi and has been drank for centuries.
Next time you decide to visit a Indian restaurant, make sure to order a refreshing sweet mango lassi. You can also make your own at home my blending 1 1/2 cups of plain non-fat yogurt, two peeled and diced sweet mangoes, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 cups of ice in a blender until frothy and smooth.