Lassi is a yogurt based drink that is more popular in north India and more specifically in Punjab. However, my first encounter with this drink happened in Mumbai, city where I was born. The street food in Mumbai reflects the cultural ethos of the city. The inhabitants of this city practice different faith, religion, have different food practices and often speak in different language that separates them in many ways but at the same time there are many common threads that keeps the city together and it reflects in its attitude and spirit also popularly known as Mumbaikar spirit. This feeling of oneness keeps the city together during times of peace and turbulence.
Street food is one such thread that has kept the city and its inhabitants tied to each other. The city has grown with its growing population, and has expanded its boundaries. The lifeline of Mumbai is its local trains that crisscross the city connecting every remotest corner with the heart of Mumbai. There is not one street in Mumbai that signifies the street food culture of the city but several. The vastness of city has created opportunities for establishment of several street joints and corners and has created several such streets that are popular in the residents of that locality. However there are also many food joints that have pan Mumbai appeal and are popular for their taste and food that they offer. Since the subject of our blog today is lassi, how can one not mention about Kailash Mandir Lassi and sweets shop.
I had my first taste of their lassi ever since I started travelling in trains during my school days. I must have been 13 then, when every Sunday morning, I would travel to Colaba for my Sea Cadet Corp training and by the end of those 8 hours of rigorous training that involved physical exercises, rifle drills, boat pulling, sailing, canoeing, semaphores, ropes and knots, morse codes I would be physically and mentally exhausted. Legs would turn weak and stomach would crave for some food. While on my way back home, I would take a slight detour and get down at Dadar station where I would wash down a large glass of lusciously thick and creamy dry-fruit lassi at Kailash Mandir, and would get so full and content with that glass of lassi that for next 45 km of journey between Dadar and Dombivli, I would be asleep. I followed this same routine for almost 4 years of my life. My missus was more fortunate than me as she stayed all her life in Parel which was like at a stone’s throw distance from this outlet comparing the huge distance that I had to travel. We often fight over who can claim to be the biggest patron of this lassi shop and I think I make a strong case to earn that title.
There are different variants of lassi, thin sweet lassi, salty lassi, mango lassi, strawberry lassi and several others that depend upon the fancy imagination and experimental abilities of the vendor. I, in particular like dry fruit lassi, which is a thick version of lassi loaded with lots of dry nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, raisins. I would have loved to post the recipe of Kailash Mandir dry fruit lassi, but those guys are tough nuts to crack and hold their trade secret recipe close to their chest. I think the only way one can manage to sneak out their recipe is if one works in their kitchen for few months.
At the occasion of Janmashtami, a Hindu annual festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu we decided to make lassi. The highlight of the festival in Mumbai-Pune is Dahi-Handi, an event in which group of boys and girls (Govinda) form a human pyramid and try to break an earthen pot that is filled with butter milk and suspended at some convenient (sometimes not so convenient) height. This event is based upon the story that tells us how Krishna would sneak in and break these pots filled with butter. Every year, on next day of janmashtami, which is also known as Gopal Kala or Dahi-Handi people like to make some dishes that are favorite to Lord Krishna. We decided to make Lassi this year and what better than Dry-fruit lassi. This is our version of dry fruit lassi which consists of thick yogurt, milk, sugar, lots of dry fruits and to enhance the richness we have added brown khoya (mawa). Fill up your glasses (preferably Patiala, if you have one) and keep them to chill for an hour. Do not serve this lassi without a spoon. This will be more than sufficient to keep you full until evening, if you decide to skip your lunch and drink (or should I say eat) this lassi.
- 300 grams hung curd. For 300 grams of hung curd, 600 grams of curd is tied in a muslin cloth and hung for 2 hours
- 125 ml cold milk
- 100 gram khoya/mawa grated
- 4 tbsp sugar.You can adjust the sweetness as per your preference
- Dry nuts (cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins chopped into pieces)
- Dry roast Khoya in a heated pan on low flame until it turns light brown.
- In 5 mins Khoya becomes light brown in color and its texture becomes grainy. Turn off the flame and remove khoya in a plate.
- Whisk hung curd until it becomes smooth.
- Now add Milk, sugar and mix them all nicely.
- Take a serving glass.Pour some strawberry crush.Pour whisked curd at the bottom of the glass.Now add spoonful of brown Khoya to form another layer.Add some dry nuts on top of Khoya.
- Repeat these layers of curd, khoya and dry nuts.
- Finally load the topmost layer with dry nuts.
- Add a dollop of hung curd. Refrigerate the lassi and serve it chilled.
- Enjoy Dry Fruit Lassi
Share your feedback about this recipe with us in the comment section below. You can also tell us how you celebrated janmashtami and Dahi-Handi.
Click here for recipe video