The weather is warming up… it’s time to cool down with a healthy drink.
A lassi (pronounced luhs-ee) is simply a yogurt drink, sweet or salty, popular throughout India. The Gujarati version of a salty lassi is called chaas and is nothing more than a more diluted version of a salty lassi.
Chaas is often referred to as buttermilk. But it’s not buttermilk, nor is it traditionally made with buttermilk. Instead, in the days before refrigeration, it was more likely made using aged yogurt that was starting to go sour (as a means to use it up before it went bad). I normally don’t have yogurt that’s about to expire on me but have found that using buttermilk will boost up the sourness and give a more authentic taste. That said, I normally just use water though.
Traditionally, chaas is served at the end of a meal to aid digestion but it is also consumed as a hot weather refreshment.
Gujarati Salty Lassi (or Chaas)
- 150 g yogurt (homemade is preferable)
- 1/2 cup cold water (or buttermilk for a more sour taste)
- 1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- a few fresh mint (or coriander) leaves (optional)
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin and salt to a fine powder.
- Combine yogurt, water and cumin-salt mixture and vigorously whisk together using a wooden whisk (traditional method) or use an immersion blender (my method). Alternatively, you can also place everything in a jar with a cap and shake it vigorously.
- Pour into a glass and garnish with finely minced mint (or coriander).