Sweet lassi is a lassi flavoured using sugar, cardamom and other aromatic spices. Further, lassi is also flavoured using rosewater, essence, or fruit juices. Hence, this is how typical sweet lassi, aka मीठी लस्सी, is made.
Now the question is, what lassi is? How’s it different from sweet lassi? Let’s find out then.
Lassi: Indian Culture and Tradition
Lassi is a traditional dahi based drink that originated in the Indian subcontinent. You get a thick white liquid when you blend dahi (or yoghurt) and water. That’s your lassi.
You get flavoured and colourful lassis when you add sweeteners, essence, fruit pulps, spices, and masala mix to this white liquid.
For instance, when you blend rock salt, roasted cumin powder, dahi and cold water, you get salted lassi. It is called namkeen lassi (नमकीन लस्सी) in Hindi.
On the contrary, when you blend dahi, sugar, black pepper powder, nutmeg powder and cardamon, you get masala lassi (मसाला लस्सी).
In short, blending sweet curd with different ingredients gives you salty or sweet lassis.
Lassi v/s Buttermilk (Chhaas)
If you observe, lassi is similar to buttermilk. Although this may be true, both lassi and Chhaas are the same and distinguished simultaneously.
Below, I have enlisted a few pointers to show a delicious comparison between lassi and buttermilk.
Curd is a vital ingredient in both lassi and buttermilk. Apart from blending curd, you can either churn or whisk it to make lassi or buttermilk. In short, the curd is the star ingredient here. Yoghurt is a flavourful substitute for curd.
The process of making lassi and buttermilk is almost the same. Blend or churn curd with cold water or ice with herbs & spices of your choice. That’s it. When you stir the cold curd, you will see a bit of butter on the surface. All in all, this brings both lassi and buttermilk together.
The point where chhaas and lassi differ – is pouring consistency.
Traditional lassis are thick, whereas buttermilk is free-flowing. In other words, buttermilk has more water compared to lassi, and that’s how it has to be.
However, typical Indian lassi is heavy on the belly, thicker than buttermilk, with a vivid taste. Surprisingly, water is essential in acquiring the exact pouring consistency for lassi and buttermilk.
After pouring consistency, the flavour is another where both lassi and chhaas differ heavily.
For example, chhaas have limited flavours like masala chhaas or plain and simple chhaas with just a pinch of salt.
On the contrary, lassi has a wide variety of flavours. Mango, Pista, Kaju, Malai, Rose, and Strawberry lassi are a few. These lassi flavours are prominent and always in high demand during summer.
If you look closely, buttermilk has an added culinary usage once you make it. For instance, you can make White Gujarati Kadhi out of it.
Not only white, but you can also make authentic yellow kadhi too. The culinary usage of Chhaas is not limited to the kadhi. Other main course recipes are where buttermilk is either a primary or subsidiary item.
However, lassi is not that versatile. For example, you can’t use sweet lassi to make a main course dish. In other words, lassi is limited to being a beverage for the summer season.
3-Ways to Make Lassi
The whole idea of making lassi is to blend or churn the curd as thick as possible. You can do this by following the below given two methods.
Blend in a Grinder
One of the easiest yet mechanical and modern methods to make lassi. Just blend (not grind) curd with other ingredients until thick.
The thickness depends on how much water, sugar and ice cubes you add.
Churn with Spoon, Fork, Whisker or Wooden Churner
To churn is to mix the curd using a spoon, fork or whisker. Let me tell you, this is a manual process and will take some time to get the desired thickness. Add everything to a mixing bowl and start churning. I would recommend using a whisker because it will make your job easy. Moreover, it won’t hurt your hand.
Churning your curd with a spoon is the ultimate solution if you don’t have a mixer machine, hand beater, blender, wooden churner or whisker. A spoon is lovely and will give you the same texture.
However, using a wooden churner like shown above will be easier on your hands.
Beat the Curd (Hand Beater)
Beaten thick curd is what we want for our sweet lassi. You can use a hand beater apart from a whisker or a blender to beat the curd. I would use my Philips Hand beater with steel attachment if I were to beat my curd for lassi.
I use it to make whipped cream.
Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl or jar and start the hand beater at the lowest speed. Take care that you don’t splash everything out. Beat the curd till you get desired thickness.
How to Garnish and Serve?
Blend curd with other ingredients and pour into the glass. That’s how you consume lassi. There’s nothing wrong with it. Of course, you can do that, but I have some cool ideas to make your lassi extraordinary. Here they are.
Cardamom & Saffron Flavour
I have used cardamom powder, but you can replace it with rose water. You will have a soothing aroma and flavour this way. Even 2-3 crushed saffron strands will enrich and elevate the taste of your lassi.
Unsalted White Butter
Authentic Punjabi lassis are also served with unsalted white butter to enhance the taste. This serving suggestion is optional because doing this will make lassi heavy on your stomach. However, it is an excellent topping on the lassis.
Nuts like cashews, pistachios or almonds are the best thing to garnish a sweet lassi. You can add them as an ingredient too. There’s a special dry fruit lassi for those who like crunchy nuts.
Malai (Milk Cream)
Add 2-3 tablespoons of thick malai to a sweet lassi glass. Pour a tablespoon of flavoured essence with some nuts. There can’t be anything as good as this. Try it.
Peda is a traditional Indian dessert made using milk mawa, aka khoya. The Amritsar city of Punjabi is famous for its पेड़ेवाली लस्सी. You have to buy unflavored peda from sweet shops and toss it into the glass full of lassi. Your pedewali lassi is ready.
Health Benefits of Lassi
Yoghurt or curd based drinks are very healthy, especially in the scorching heat of summer in India.
- Having good bacteria in the lassi helps the digestive system, especially during the summer.
- Rich in calcium and so it helps with bone strength.
- Curd or yoghurt helps build immunity & stamina.
- A natural probiotic drink that helps with many stomach related problems like gas.
Sweet Lassi Extra Shots
- Crush green cardamom seeds in a mortar to a fine powder.
- Use chilled curd. If not, refrigerate it for a couple of hours.
- Use sweet curd and not sour. Meetha dahi (मीठा दही) is what we need.
- The curd must be smooth. Therefore, blend, churn or beat until smooth.
- To add a smooth taste, one can replace ice cubes with chilled milk or water.
- If adding water or ice cubes, adjust the quantity to maintain consistency.
- Excess water or ice cubes can make lassi watery hence be careful with them.
Sweet Lassi FAQs
How long does the curd take to become thick and smooth?
It depends on how you are thickening your curd. The mixer machine will hardly take 20 to 30 seconds. On the contrary, if you are churning with bare hands, it will take 5-7 minutes. Depending on the speed settings, the hand beater will take around a couple of minutes.
Can I use hung curd to make sweet lassi?
You can use hung curd, but you will have to add extra water to adjust the pouring consistency. It is because the hung curd is dry. You will remove moisture from the curd and then add water again. Hence, why remove water in the first place. Just churn or blend the curd and add water only if required.
Why there’s no essence in your lassi?
The lassi that we have made is the basic white and sweet lassi. If you add essence, it will become flavoured lassi, depending on the flavour of the essence. You can add the essence of your choice.
Can I add dry fruits to my lassi?
Yes, you can add dry fruits to the lassi for sure.
How many glasses of lassi can I make with 500 grams of curd?
Not exactly, but you can still make 5-6 glasses of lassi out of 500 grams of curd. But then you will have to consider the amount of water and ice cubes that you put into your lassi. Hence, you can make 5-6 glasses of thick lassi or 7-8 glasses of medium-thick lassi with 500 grams of curd.