Mango lassi is the simplest Indian mango smoothie that's smooth, creamy and delicious. It's super easy and perfect any time. This recipe has been created in partnership with the dairy farm families of New England.
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We didn't go out for dinner all that much when I was a child and in fairness, I don't think there were a huge number of options at that time. We sometimes had a pub meal, or else another favorite was a local Indian restaurant.
They had a few mild curries I liked, as well as things like pappadums and cauliflower pakora to start. But if I was extra lucky, I'd be allowed to get a mango lassi to drink.
What is mango lassi?
Lassi is a common drink in Indian where yogurt is blended with other ingredients to make a refreshing, cooling drink. There is a salty version, but most are either plain or mixed with fruit, like this popular mango version.
It's an idea that's easy to play around with, like the peach lassi I made once before. Mix up the fruits as you have on hand, though this classic is definitely worth trying.
Other than any fruit you add, the main ingredient is dairy - always milk and often yogurt. Given the warm days ahead and the fact June is National Dairy Month, it seemed the perfect recipe to partner with New England Dairy on.
What kind of mango should you use?
You can use any mango for this but you may see lassi made with Alfonso mango specifically highlighted on a menu. It is considered the best there is, in India at least. And when I had it, I'd agree it makes a wonderful lassi.
Since that may not be available, you want the ripest you can find. The riper they are, the more flavor and sweetness they give the drink. I like to use the small yellow or 'champagne mangoes', as they can be called. I find they have the best flavor and least stringiness in those I can find.
Failing fresh, you can use canned or frozen but frozen in particular are not always as sweet or flavorful.
How to cut a mango
Many years ago I was shown the "proper" way to cut a mango (or at least how they do in India) and it was definitely a revelation. You basically cut each side away from the stone, score each of these criss-cross then pop it open. I used to say so it looks like a hedgehog - feel free to agree or disagree!
If you are eating it there and then, you can bite the cubes off the skin, or if you want to use the chunks, as here, cut them off the skin with a knife. It's definitely easier than trying to manhandle a slippery peeled mango.
What yogurt should you use for lassi?
You can really use any yogurt you like in this, but I'd tend to go for a plain yogurt that's not too thick (like Greek-style) as mango is relatively thick when pureed as well. But if you only have Greek-style, then I'd suggest you use a little less yogurt and more milk.
I personally don't feel there's any need to add too many additional flavors or sweetness since the mango already has plenty of both. Or at least any I add, I prefer to control how much rather than use a flavored yogurt.
Here I added just a little lemon zest then cardamon on top which both add that little something. Some lime juice or mint would also be good options.
The combination of mango, yogurt and a touch of milk means this drink is a fantastic blend of nutrients. And while I appreciate for most, including myself, mangoes are not a local fruit, you can hardly get more local than dairy.
In fact, I recently got to see exactly where some of our milk comes from by visiting a farm less than an hour from my home. It was great to meet the herd and the farmer. Some things were as you might imagine, and this farm even had a lovely farm store. But for me, it was the recent developments that struck me.
Things like the fact half the manure produced was sent to a local digester to be converted to energy. The farm had recently introduced solar panels that were set to cover most of their energy needs, if not more. They were also contemplating a move to robotic milking.
It was great to hear about the sustainability and clever use of technology being embraced. And all to produce milk and other dairy products that our family, and many others, use daily, for things like this tasty smoothie.
Mango lassi is such a classic Indian drink that's basically one of the easiest smoothies you can get. But when something is so perfect, why add anything more? As you can see, my little one agrees.
Try these other smoothies with yogurt:
You might also like to try falooda, another cooling Indian drink (it's milk-based, rose flavored and with yummy additions making it almost dessert!) as well as sheer khurma, an Indian rice-pudding like dessert using vermicelli sweetened with dates.
- 1 cup mango (1 yellow mango)
- 1 cup plain yogurt 240ml
- ¼ cup milk 60ml
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- 1 pinch cardamon
- Remove the mango flesh from the stone by cutting top to bottom on either side of the stone, scoring the flesh down to the skin in squares then popping them open. Cut the cubes from the skin. Remove skin from leftover flesh by stone and take off that mango flesh too. (See photos above for more detail on this)
- Put the mango, yogurt, milk and lemon zest, if using, in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve with a little cardamon sprinkled on top.
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For information about the dairy farm families of New England, school nutrition, and health and wellness topics, please visit New England Dairy & Food Council.