Every mango lassi recipe you'll find always has the same list of ingredients. Milk, yogurt, mango (fresh or canned), sugar and some crushed ice are always present, though the proportions may differ. To these, I added cardamom extract, saffron (for color) and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the mango.
There's something magical about mango lassi (Indian-style smoothie). It has the richness of a milkshake without the calories. On top of that, it's ultra easy to make at home. You don't have to wait for your next trip to the local Indian restaurant to enjoy a tall glass of mango-ey goodness.
Servings: 6 glasses
1-1/4 cups mango pulp (see tips)
2 cups plain yogurt
2/3 cup milk (I used evaporated milk)
1/4 cup superfine sugar, to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups crushed ice
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom extract (optional)
In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron threads (if used). Add about 1/4 cup of milk.
Combine the mango purée, yogurt, saffron milk (if used), the rest of the milk, superfine sugar, salt and crushed ice in a blender. Blend all the ingredients for about 2 minutes. While the mixture is blending, add the cardamom extract (if used). The consistency of the smoothie should be smooth and creamy.
Pour into 6 small glasses. Wasn't it easy?
You can decorate the top of the glasses with crushed nuts (slivered almonds, pistachios or cashews), just as it's done for other Indian drinks, such as sharbat.
I prefer using canned mango pulp because the mangoes are picked at the peak of ripeness, which guarantees a consistent result. I get it at the Indian store but you can also get it online. I prefer the Kesar mango variety, which is much smaller than the Alphonso kind and much sweeter.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It's a fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much more quickly than regular sugar.
I made my own yogurt last summer. It's easier that you imagine; making homemade yogurt doesn't even require a yogurt maker. You can click on the link for the recipe.
If you don't have cardamom extract (I buy mine at an Indian store), you can grind cardamom seeds** into a fine powder, using a mortar and pestle. Crush all the nits and gather about 1 teaspoon.
** It's very easy to extract the seeds from a cardamom pod with a mortar and pestle. Pound the pod several times and the pod will release its seeds. Pick the shell and discard it.
I use the Vitamix blender. It's rather expensive but so worth it. I got it as a wedding gift, and it's really powerful. It crushes ice into sno-cones almost instantaneously. It's perfect for smoothies. Just make sure there is some amount of liquid so that the motor does not burn. Vitamix also carries an additional container just for dry ingredients.
Saffron is quite expensive; I usually get it at a more reasonable price at an Indian market. It gives the drink a yellow hue and a nice aroma.