There’s something about a mango that’s just so quintessentially summer. They’re bright and juicy, with a slightly bite to their sweetness. They’re fabulous on their own, sliced into large wedges and eaten by hand, juices dripping stickily down your arm. Come June, my parents bring home mangos by the case full, stashing them in the downstairs fridge
where we forget about them until a day before they spoil so that we’re forced to eat mango after mango until our stomachs hurt so that we can eat them at our leisure.
But mangos also make for great chutneys, salsas, mousses and lassis, yogurt-based drinks that really should be the only way to end a spring or summer dinner. They are frothy and luscious, tart yet sweet, wholesome enough for breakfast but decadent enough for dessert.
Lassis originated in Punjab, in the northern region of India, and in their most traditional form, are a savory drink — yogurt thinned with a little water and seasoned with salt and other spices. But there are many sweet, fruit-based lassi flavorings, mango being the most common. Using thick yogurt, like Greek yogurt or the Indian-style Dahi, makes the lassi richer — if you’re using regular yogurt, try blending just the yogurt with the mango, and adding milk only if necessary to thin out the lassi.
Given that the whole thing takes about a minute to make, it’s kind of shocking that you haven’t made this already. And sure, maybe it’s nothing more than a glorified smoothie, but when was that ever a bad thing?
- 3/4 cup mango (1 small to medium-sized mango)
- 1/2 cup thick yogurt, such as Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar*
*After giving your lassi a spin once in the blender, taste it to see how sweet it is. Depending on how sweet your mango is and your preference for sour foods, you may need less than this amount (or even no sugar, if your mango is overripe), or more than this amount. Add by the teaspoon so you don’t accidentally oversweeten — lassi is usually on the tart side.
1) Cut the mango: find the top of the mango (with the seed bump) and center the mango on your cutting board with the bump facing up towards you. Slice straight downwards to the right of the seed bump, then repeat on the left of the seed bump. You should have two large pieces of flesh, and one flat mango seed.
2) Dice the mango: cut a deep crosshatch pattern into the mango flesh pieces. Be careful not to cut the skin. Use a spoon to scoop out the mango pieces. Slice off any flesh from the left and right sides of the pulp and dice. (Here’s a step-by-step guide with visuals.)
3) Combine the mango, yogurt and milk in a blender and mix until smooth. Taste and add sugar as needed.
Variations: Rose lassi is really common also — omit the mango and add a 1/4 teaspoon of rose water (can be found in Indian grocery stores). You can also add a drop or two of red food coloring for a very spring-like pink color. You can also do 3/4 cup of strawberries or papaya.