Mango lassi recipe: How to make traditional Indian mango lassi

With the perfect balance of fresh mango, yogurt, and spices, mango lassi can be a delicious summer treat. It's an easy, cheap, and great option for kids and those who refrain from alcohol. Here's how to make mango lassi!

Fresh mango lassi is easy to make, delicious, and healthy too!
Fresh mango lassi is easy to make, delicious, and healthy too!  © 123RF/losinstantes

A fresh mango lassi is the perfect thing to pair with a rich, spicy curry. It's also a great dessert, the perfect milkshake-like beverage, and something addictive for the kids. Oh, and did we mention it's easy to make? Sure, mangos might be expensive, but this wonderful drink is definitely worth the price of entry.

If you're a fan of Indian food, you've certainly tried one of these sweet treats before. TAG24 is here to take you through how to make a mango lassi with this quick, easy, and cheap recipe.

What is mango lassi?

Mango lassi is a specific variation of the Punjabi drink "Lassi." The name of the drink, when translated from the local tongue, is simply a combination of water and yogurt that it often blended with various fruits. In India, the specific mango variant is rather rare, with many other versions taking precedence.

Here are a few other kinds of lassi:

  • Salty lassi: A variety that is meant to be salty, and is often made with black pepper, cumin, salt, and a little bit of sugar.
  • Bhang lassi: A lassi that has been infused with cannabis. It is often eaten alongside pakoras during Holi (the pakoras also occasionally contain cannabis).
  • Different fruit lassis: There are many different variations. Of course, mango lassi has become common and popular in the west, but the drink is also often made with strawberries, bananas, and a variety of other fruits.
  • Meethi lassi: Lassi made with cardamom, rosewater, and saffron.
  • Spicy lassi: This bad-boy has chili. While delicious, please understand that it isn't going to cool down your mouth during a spicy meal. It contains almonds, ginger, chilies, and a variety of nuts.

What makes a lassi is the yogurt. You are making a creamy, thickened emulsion with it, combining the water, the fruit and/or spices, and the yogurt until it reaches a very specific texture. Lassis are not always sweet (as you can see from the spicy and salty versions listed above), and can be consumed at any time of day.

Traditionally, lassi is served in a clay cup and contains cumin or cardamon. Mango lassi, in particular, has risen to prominence across the world, especially in countries that used to be part of the British Empire.

How to make mango lassi: Recipe

Mango lassis aren't hard to make, but you are going to need a few things if you want to get the right consistency. It's important to consider that you are doing something rather difficult: an emulsion. What this means is that you are combining two substances that don't naturally want to be mixed.

In this case, those ingredients are the water, the milk, and the yogurt. You also need to grind the spices down enough that they won't be gritty when you consume the drink. As a result, using the right equipment, and being precise with how you handle it, is critical.

Here's what you are going to need when making mango lassi:

  • Sharp knife (medium-sized)
  • Chopping board
  • An accurate liquid measuring cup, imperial
  • Accurate measuring spoon, tablespoons
  • Mortar and pestle
  • A powerful blender

One of the most important things with home cooking is to keep it simple and straightforward. Feel free to add embellishments as desired, but only once you have mastered the basics. Steer away from things like whipped cream and garnishes at this stage.

A note on this recipe: At the start of this recipe, we described a number of different lassi variations. This drink is ultimately a simple emulsion of water and yogurt. As a result, you can use the method and proportions described below to make any fruit-based lassi, and can make other variations through minor alterations to this formula.

If you're concerned about spice, pairing your curry with a mango lassi is an absolute must!
If you're concerned about spice, pairing your curry with a mango lassi is an absolute must!  © IMAGO/Zoonar

Mango lassi recipe | Ingredients

Many people add a ton of extra stuff to their mango lassi recipes, but this is a simple recipe that doesn't need to be over-complicated. Lassi is yogurt and water, with maybe a little bit of milk. The mango is there to add flavor, but you don't need any sugar because you'll get that from the fruit.

Here are the ingredients you'll need to make mango lassi:

  • 1-2 large ripe mangoes
  • Medium-large tub of plain yogurt, 2 pounds
  • Water, 1/2 cup
  • Milk, 1/2 cup
  • Crushed cardamom, 1 teaspoon
  • Pinch of salt

On the proportions: This recipe is designed to make enough mango lassi for 2–3 glasses. If you want more, or less, adjust the quantities proportionally.

Mango lassi recipe | Instructions

Making mango lassi is, like a lot of Indian cooking, straightforward if you know what you're doing and aren't too worried about getting the proportions perfect. We recommend blending your mangos when they are at room temperature and then chilling the whole thing at the end, but you can also semi-freeze them to keep the drink cool throughout the process.

Here's how to make mango lassi

Step 1: Make an incision through the middle of your mangos, twisting and separating each half, and removing the stone. Then cut grid lines in the flesh and scoop out the tasty bits with a spoon.

Step 2: Add your mango to the blender and blend it on high until it is a thin, smooth paste. Make sure that all the fibers have been broken down. Feel free to add a little of the water during this process, to assist your blender.

Step 3: Grind up your cardamom seeds with your mortar and pestle. Now add the yogurt, the milk, the rest of your water, the salt, and the cardamom to the blender.

Step 4: Set it to a low blend, or pulse, and slowly combine everything together. You want to take short breaks, to let things settle, and then slowly continue to combine everything until it is a thick and well-combined mixture.

Step 5: As with any cooking, give it a taste before you serve it. Make sure to chill it in the fridge for a little while as well, to reduce its temperature. Adjust it to taste and serve it in a ceramic cup for authenticity.

As you can see, mango lassi is easy to make. The trick is blending slowly and getting the drink to be super smooth and well emulsified.

Is mango lassi healthy?

There is a bit of sugar in a homemade mango lassi, but it is far healthier than most desserts.
There is a bit of sugar in a homemade mango lassi, but it is far healthier than most desserts.  © IMAGO/agefotostock

While mango lassis (and other lassi variants) often contain a reasonable amount of sugar, they are actually healthy drinks packed full of nutritional value. People always forget that not all sugars are bad for you, as long as they are consumed in moderation. If you are making a lassi with fresh fruit, then you'll be consuming the natural sugars found in fruit rather than refined and packaged sugar.

Filled with tons of protein and probiotics from the yogurt, as well as calcium, lassis that don't contain any fruit are the healthiest variants. The spicy variants listed above, as well as salt-based and meethi lassis, are healthy and can be consumed on a daily basis if you want. Let's be real, though, fruit isn't that bad – don't worry too much!

Mango lassi calories

The calorie count of a lassi depends on the quantity you make, the specific ingredients and brands you use, and the type of drink you're making. Lassis that don't contain any fruit will generally be far healthier and contain far fewer calories. Let's be real, though, you're here for the mango lassi.

One standard-sized glass of mango lassi will generally provide you with 300–400 calories, making up only about 15%-20% of an adult male's recommended intake. You shouldn't be drinking five mango lassis a day, but downing one with a nice curry every now and then won't be a problem at all.

Mango lassi is the perfect drink to pair with spicy food!

If you've ever been sitting over a beautiful curry and struggling to keep eating due to the hotness of the food in front of you, milk and yogurt has likely been your savior. Mango lassi plays this role perfectly, spreading a layer of dairy over your palate and protecting your tongue from the intense spice.

Once you have learned how to make mango lassi, then this recipe can become your go-to. It is the perfect solution to the problem – a dessert, a delicious treat, and a protective cloak. Enjoy!

Cover photo: 123RF/losinstantes

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