When its boiling sunny weather, milk is often seen as a ‘bad choice’.
This is not always the case. Yeh, they may be more yoghurt than milk, but a lassi is cooling, refreshing and is a welcome hit of sugar when you are actually melting and drinking water just reminds you of the sweat dribbling off your nose slope.
I’ve had lassis in Indian restaurants in the UK but those yogs have got nothing on the originals over here. Normally served in metal cups in restaurants, it’s best from small shops open to the street where they sell these simple milkshakes in throw-away clay cups. You also know you’ve got a good one when you get a lid of curd skin on the top of your lassi. Scooping that up with the little wooden spoons they give you has been one of my favourite food moments in India so far.
There are a huge amount of flavours in some places, banana probably being the most popular. However my best choices are the basic ones, savoury or sweet. And I normally always go for sweet. Its just yoghurt, curd and sugar (sometimes flavoured sugar, best when not), stirred vigorously in a special bowl with a wooden stick, slopped into the beautiful clay cup and a sliver of curd skin slurped on top. In some places they have fancy machines to make them, by fancy I mean they look like an old Victorian train engine.
Standing on the street gulping a lassi is the perfect way to watch life in mad Indian cities go by while chatting to other sugary milk fans, locals and tourists all feeling like little kids with big butt pots of sweet yoghurt drink.
So far our favourite has been in Jaipur and is the last in a long line of lassiwalas (sellers) down the MI road. Its also called Lassiwala, but has the added clues of being the best with ‘Since 1944’ on the sign. It always has the most people around it, but due to its popularity it can sell out so get there early for guaranteed tastes.