Beat the heat with rhubarb lassi
A little over a month ago I went to this great Indian-Thai fusion restaurant just down the street from our house. And I had my first lassi – mango of course. It was hot and dusty out and holy crap was it delicious. The following week or so was sweltering hot, so I decided to make my own version of lassi.
Lassi is a yogurt beverage found primarily in India, but also in other parts of that region. Lassi can be served sweetened with fruit pulp (as with mango lassi), but is also traditionally served salted (read this great wikipedia article for more info).
Since lassi is so simple to make – essentially yogurt + water/milk + seasoning – it makes the perfect smoothie-like treat.
I do not recommend using pre-flavored yogurt when making lassi. I also prefer to use full-fat yogurt. Here is my recipe for one serving:
1/3 cup full-fat plain yogurt (I used Dannon)
2 heaping tablespoons rhubarb sauce (see recipe below)
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
2/3 – 1 cup milk
Stir yogurt and sugar together until sugar is melted into yogurt. Add rhubarb and milk and stir to combine. Add more milk if necessary to thin to drinking consistency. Serve cold in a tall glass. Or a pint mason jar.
You can adjust the above recipe to your tastes. You may prefer more or less sugar, or a thicker or thinner beverage. You can substitute any kind of jam or fruit puree for the rhubarb sauce. But I’ve listed my mom’s recipe below.
In my family, “sauce” means cooked sweetened fruit without pectin. This is my mom’s rhubarb sauce recipe and is perfect in lassi or on top of plain yogurt or ice cream. It can also make an excellent jam for topping toast.
4 cups (or parts) chopped rhubarb
1 cup (or part) sugar
In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, cook the rhubarb over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and disintegrated. Do not add water unless rhubarb is especially dry and then add a tablespoon or two. When rhubarb reaches desired thickness, add sugar and cook until melted (adding the sugar after the rhubarb cooks helps keep it from getting stringy).
This sauce keeps indefinitely in the fridge and can easily be scaled up with the 4:1 ratio of rhubarb:sugar.
Of course, you should definitely do the whole rhubarb cooking thing before it gets swelteringly hot out. That’s what I did, anyway. Then you can actually enjoy the joy of not cooking and still eating something delicious.