In Indian restaurants everywhere, a diner can see many different types of cuisine. This holds true for beverages, as well. One popular non-alcoholic beverage in India and South Asia is the mango lassi.
A mango lassi is something like a milkshake, but made with yogurt instead of milk. Yogurt is one of the most common dairy products in Asia, so it follows that most dairy beverages start with yogurt. In a hot climate, cooling beverages are always welcome and it is natural that people should use a common fruit and blend it with another common ingredient (yogurt) to make a beverage that both hydrates and refreshes.
Traditional lassi is served salted, and sometimes even combined with cumin or chili powder! The mango lassi is more contemporary, but none the less popular now. A lassi can be considered as a chilled beverage with a yogurt base, and many Indian restaurants in particular, serve it plain, salted, sweetened, or as the mango lassi. Because the mango lassi is usually a rich, sweet drink, some people order it as a dessert, rather than as something to drink with their meal.
Lassi varies from country to country, and even region to region, but the mango lassi is a perennial favorite. Most people like mango, and having it flavor a yogurt shake is a variation many people like. Drinking this beverage, which is easily made at home, is also a good way to get the benefits of dairy, the good bacteria yogurt contains, and the mango, which is high in vitamins A, B and C. In India, mango is thought to aid digestion, help stop bleeding and strengthen the heart. Mangoes are a very sweet fruit, so a mango lassi can be made with little or no sugar, making it even healthier.
A simple mango lassi recipe calls for one ripe mango, peeled and diced; a cup of milk; one-half cup plain yogurt (although vanilla yogurt would work, too); two tablespoons sugar and a cup of ice water. This is all blended in a blender or food processor until thick and smooth. Someone making a mango lassi might want to reduce the amount of sugar to taste, or to use an artificial sweetener in order to cut down on calories and carbohydrates. Substitutes or variations could include ice, for a thicker drink, low-fat milk, or even flavored yogurt, for extra taste. The mango lassi recipe is an error-tolerant one.