Summer is quietly passing by, and I’m trying to soak up every last bit of the season that I can. The late golden hour sun during my evening social distanced walks, the candy sweet tomatoes that have found their way into almost every meal of my day, the lakeside breeze and saltwater, and for me, the juicy summer mangoes that I’ve started hoarding to freeze for when the season ends.
When most people order a lassi at an Indian restaurant, they’re usually thinking of the sweet mango lassi that is almost reminiscent of a milkshake. It’s sweet and cooling flavor is perfect for sipping between big bites of spice filled bowls of sabzi and daal. There is also a salty lassi that is more of a yogurt based drink that leans savory with swirls of spices like black salt and pepper.
I combined the best of both worlds for a lassi that toes the line between the sweet and salty. I find that the spices tame the sweetness of the mango, making the flavors sing even brighter.
I consulted my mom on how she likes to make hers, and this is what we came up with.
It’s almost comical when I try to get a recipe out of my mom to make for myself. The thing is, she and the other Aunties don’t necessarily follow a recipe in the same way we follow recipes here. Recipes in cookbooks and on sites are supposed to be precise, tested multiple times to the exact ounce so that they can be replicated over and over. But the thing is, my mom doesn’t measure anything, she never has. So when I call her and say that I’m craving a recipe she makes, it’s like pulling teeth. Even she will get frustrated with my need for an exact measurement because it doesn’t exist and she doesn’t understand why I can’t just start cooking and adjust along the way. It’s a skill to be able to eyeball and just know that a recipe is right simply by the color or flavor, and maybe I’ll get there someday. But for now, my mom and I will continue our lively phone calls as I try and decipher measurements so I can share some of my favorite recipes with y’all.
Lassis to me are a treat. My mom didn’t make them all the time, but it was a special recipe reserved for when the giant boxes of alphonso mangos became available at the Indian stores, and she would decide on a whim to blend a couple glasses up for my brother and me.
For my salty mango lassi, I use sendhav salt. I buy this one from the Indian grocery stores, but you can use whatever salt you have on hand – Himalayan pink salt, sea salt, rock salt – just start small with a 1/8 tsp and gradually add a pinch more as you prefer to adjust the level of saltiness.
My mom always has sendhav salt in her spice cabinet, and as I was chatting with her over the phone on the right blend of ingredients for this lassi, she reminded me that sendhav salt helps with digestion and has lots of other important minerals that our bodies need.
For the other spices, I will continue my campaign for fresh ground over pre-packaged. It’s such a simple thing, but when you compare fresh ground cardamom to pre-bottled, it’s like a completely different ingredient and flavor. In a recipe like this where there are just a handful of ingredients, you want every one of them to shine. Invest in a basic spice grinder: I have this one and use it every day to create the most flavorful recipes, from this basic lassi to the most complex sabzi.
So blend ‘er up, serve up cold, and enjoy these quiet summer days with a refreshing mango lassi. Scroll on for the recipe…
- 1/4 tsp sendhav salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 heaping tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 2 cups fresh mango, cubed (if using frozen mango, thaw before using)
- 1 - 1 1/2 heaping tbsp honey depending on sweetness preference
- 5oz yogurt
- 3/4 - 1 cup milk of choice
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Taste and adjust sweetness and salt as needed.
- Serve cold, enjoy!