My Guilty Pleasure
With Spring behind us and the first week of summer here, I figured I'll share a summer drink recipe for you. While Cherry blossoms and May showers are signs of Spring in Washington, DC, my family knows the season is here when the mangoes arrive in their fruitiest of aroma. As the weather warms up, mangoes begin filling the homes of all my relatives. Although this King-of-Fruits can be found year-round, their true taste peaks in the Spring season as they start to really ripen up as summer weather nears. Mango becomes the perfect ingredient to add to your tropical smoothie recipes, summer drinks, and fruit salads. Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of chilled mango lassi. Okay, there are other refreshing drinks out there too, but this mango lassi is way up there! And my mom's authentic mango lassi recipe is not only the best... it's oh. so. gratifying! If you're thinking of summer wedding ideas or drink ideas for South Asian weddings, this fresh fruit beverage can surely add personality and bring a seasonal flare to your wedding drink menu.
It’s not your restaurant style mango lassi, this recipe is homemade, includes fresh mangoes, and comes straight from my mom’s kitchen to yours. It’s not the traditional Indian yogurt lassi that some people are used to. I prefer making lassi without the yogurt as to avoid adding too much tartness to the flavor. This ultra-sweet and juicy tropical fruit is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Although mangoes have high nutritional value, their sugar and calorie content is also pretty high. Naturally, this mango lassi recipe is high both in nutrients and in sugar. So, you be the judge. I'm going to add some links at the bottom if you are curious about the benefits of mangoes.
Mangoes come in varieties of shapes and kinds. Although there isn’t a huge difference between the kidney shaped mango and the larger mango, the latter has a sweeter taste when mangoes are in peak season, but when the smaller ones tend to be sweeter in the off season. My mother prefers using the in-season larger mangoes for this lassi recipe. My dad picks out the mangoes, so we often seek his advice/expertise on choosing a ripe one out of the bunch. He, too, vouches for the larger ones, but also adds that every kind tastes delicious when they’re in season! So, you can use any kind to make lassi smoothies. Now, how do you know if a mango is ripe?
You know a mango is ready to eat if you get two answers. My dad says the trick to choosing one at it’s best (sweetest) stage is to gently feel the fruit with your fingers for its tenderness. It should slightly give under your fingers without causing it to bruise. Next thing is to smell the mango at the stem. (Don’t worry... no one at the supermarket will be judging you for smelling the fruit. In fact, judge a mango… not by its color but by its tenderness and aroma). The fruit should have a very sweet and strong fruity smell. I’m still not an expert, like my dad is, at picking out ripe mangoes, but I manage and pretend to be an expert smelling them mangoes.
I’ve seen mango-trees up-close and spent days living next to them whenever I visited my grandparents. They used to own and nurture a few tropical trees around our grandparents home, and that was a rare find in the city. It was quite an experience as a child, being able to go up on my grandparents' rooftop or simply extend your arm out the window, and pick out a mango straight from the tree. My grandmother would have the caretaker pick them out while they were still slightly unripe and store them in a large wicker basket under her bed, allowing them to ripen. Room temperature and warmer weather allows for quicker ripening of mangoes. Whenever a bunch would ripen, she’d have them served to the whole family. We’d eat them peeled and sliced… we’d mix ‘em up with rice and milk… we'd eat them naked and plain... we’d eat them however we liked. We even dried them out and enjoyed dried strips of mango (fruit roll-ups). She even made mango chutney and mango pickles out of them.
An iced mango smoothie, in the summer heat, would be one of the perfect drinks to satiate your thirst and any need for a sugar rush at that too. Without further ado, I present to you… my. Mother’s. Mango Lassi. Recipe! Tah dah! Okay, goofiness aside. Here’s the recipe and now you too can claim to know the best mango lassi recipe… ever. I reaaaaaally hope you'd give this easy recipe a try, and let me know your thoughts: Yay or Nay.
Side note: have any of you read The Mango Season book? It randomly popped up on my Amazon list. I'm wondering if I should give it a read? If you've read it, please let me know. Now back to the recipe:
10-min Mango Lassi Recipe
Serving Size: 2
Prep Time: 5
Make Time: 5
Whole Milk: 2 Cups (If you want to make a healthy mango smoothie, substitute whole milk for nonfat or soy milk. you can add yogurt as well if you prefer to have that in your diet, but be aware that it'll totally change the taste of this recipe.)
Ice: 1 cup
Sugar: ½ cup
Salt: a Pinch
Peel and dice the mangoes using a vegetable peeler or chef's knife and a cutting board. The pieces don't have to be perfect at all.
Put all the mango lassi ingredients (except the ice) in a blender or fruit mixer, and blend until all mixes together into a smoothie.
Now add ice - blend again for 20 seconds.
Pour it in your preferred glassware and serve it chill. If you want to be extra festive, use a seasonal or bold glass to serve in style.
For garnishing, drop in a few small slices of mango on top of the drink. Enjoy! If you have leftover, store it in a pitcher and put it in the refrigerator for the day. Hope you enjoy this recipe and please write to me if you have any questions. If you like the recipe, PIN it and share it with your friends and family.