SORRY NO BOOZE IN THIS LASSI
Not that champagne or rum wouldn’t work on a hot day, skinny mango margarita?
Okay, serious biz here. Aren’t we all itching for the new crop of fruits to make their appearance in the markets? I mean I LOVE bananas, navel oranges, and barlett pears but what a happy girl I was when I stumbled upon some champagne mangoes at the local asian market the other day.
Okay, Mangoes aren’t truly in season until Summer but I was drooling over the thought of that sweet succulent fruit making its way into a lassi.
What the heck is a Lassi?
Let me share. A Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that is popular in India and Pakistan. There are savory and sweet versions, both involving a bit of spice. Today I went with the sweetened version (Duh?!).
The first time I had a Lassi (lah-see) was in college. Another student served it for her cultural food project. First sip of the sweetened beverage and I was SOLD. That mango-eey goodness left an everlasting impression on me. I often slurp one down before or after a a workout because it’s a superb combo of protein and carbs. I promise you’ll make this as often as you get the chance. It’s totally worth the hassle of cleaning that blender afterwards!
Champagne Mango: It’s referred to as a “pampered” mango and the gorgeous golden hue gives it significant healthy benefits. It originates in Mexico (I know, not local) and the yellowness provides vitamin A (yup, carrots aren’t the only thing offering the carotene) and ginormous amounts vitamin C (Source).
Ripeness Guide: The mango should be yellow, and soft to the touch. I intentionally waited for it to be a bit wrinkly, this means “prime” sweetness. Good to go!
Cardamom: This spice packs a sweet and pungent flavor in one little pod. Your best bet is to buy the papery little pods, crack open and grind or just use the little seeds as I did. You can use the whole pod in simmered dishes, then just discard it once cooked. Often, we see this spice making its way into Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines such as curries, pilafs and desserts (I found this Indian Rice pudding on food52!).
Rose Water: According to my Food Lover’s Companion, rose water is a distillation of rose petals that has the intensely perfumy flavor and fragrance of its source. It is a popular flavor of the Middle East, India and Chinese cuisines. You do not have to use it in this recipe, but I like trying things, even once. DISCARD if there’s a “yuck” factor of course. A splash will do. You’ve been warned.
Purchasing: Most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean stores carry rose water. You might also be fortunate enough to find it in the ethnic section of your local market.
Serves: 1 (easily doubled!)
- 1 champagne mango (or regular mango, also substitute frozen mango)
- 1/2 cup plain, low-fat kefir (I use Lifeway Brand)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon *rose water (optional)
- 2 cardamom pods, optional (cracked open and fresh spice!-or use dried version, start with 1/8 tsp)
- 1 tablespoon honey (or more, personal taste)
- Ice Cubes (to fill a glass)
Pre-prep: Slice and peel mango into chunks. (Need help? CLICK here to learn how to slice a mango).
Place all ingredients into a blender except for ice cubes.
Whirl it up until nice and velvety. Pour over a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Mix a bit. Grate fresh nutmeg on top!
- In case you missed it, I suggest choosing a mango a little over ripened, the skin on mine was a bit spotted and wrinkly by the time I used it, but that’s what made it perfect for the blender because there seemed to be less “stringy-ness” that mangoes often have. So no pulling strings out of my teeth. Awesome!
- If you can’t find a fresh mango, substitute frozen and let approximately 1 cup of chunks thaw out (I like Trader Joe’s).
- Kefir: Don’t have it, don’t wanna buy it? Substitute 4 ounces plain yogurt and you’ll have to add milk, I’d say start with 4 oz and add more depending on desired consistency.
Serve and ENJOY this super healthy treat!