Mango lassi

mango lassi

I’ve read that this is the ideal drink to have on hand when you’re eating intensely spicy Indian food. As it turns out, it’s also a delightful pick-me-up at lunchtime after a morning full of planting, weeding, painting, sewing, corralling, and laundering. Hot and tired at noon, it was nice to be able to come into the kitchen, see a mango, and know what the first course of lunch was going to be.

Remember my predicament last month when faced with a bin full of one-dollar organic avocados at the grocery? Well, this week the bin was filled with one-dollar organic mangoes. This time I limited myself to four. My five-year old had been “cooking” on the PBSKids website, and one of her creations was a mango lassi. She was dying to try one, so we made up the first batch, poured it into her princess cup, and she pranced away to enjoy. Only to return about 10 minutes later with her glass 3/4 full, proclaiming that she decided she doesn’t really like mango lassi. It was the yogurt. She has something against yogurt drinks (the child will eat plain yogurt sweetened with just a touch of honey, but won’t touch a fruit-filled smoothie; what gives?). But no matter. I was obliged to finish hers for her.

Every time I drink one of these, I think of the nice man who owned an Indian restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. It was the summer of ’03, and I was great with child. If you’ve ever been to Jackson in the summertime, you might understand how the adjective “hot” doesn’t really begin to describe the air of July and August. When you add a pregnant condition to this, all sorts of eternal-punishment-imagery comes to mind. I was picking up a take-out order for dinner, had paid the man, and was waiting for the server to bring it out. He took one look at me, shook his head with pity, walked in the kitchen, and came out with a to-go cup of ice-cold mango lassi. It was the first one I’d ever had, and he graciously gave it to me, with well-wishes for a good pregnancy. If my face had the look of one ready to throw in the towel when I walked into that restaurant, it had the look of thankful joy when I walked out. The man knew what a pregnant woman in the scorching Mississippi summer needed most.
You’ve gotta try this. Easy as pie:

Mango Lassi (serves 2)

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
    (see how to cut a mango here)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Put everything in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour over ice, and enjoy with a straw. Optional additions include cardamom or fresh ginger.

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