Lassi is a traditional Ayurvedic drink that aids digestion. Made from yogurt, water, and spices, it is good for all mind-body types. It is best to drink lassi after you have finished your main meal at lunchtime. Remember that the increase of Pitta in our environment and in our body during the summer causes our own internal fire of digestion to become diminished. The Pitta-pacifying influence of roses and the digestion-enhancing quality of lassi makes this drink the perfect summertime refresher.
Rose Petal Lassi (serves 4)
2 cups fresh yogurt
2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon Rose Petal Jam
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup sugar or honey (to taste)
Blend ingredients in a blender until frothy. Serve immediately and enjoy.
As an alternative to Rose Petal Lassi, try the traditional Digestive Lassi served at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa.
Digestive Lassi (one glass)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 pinch black salt
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch ginger
Blend all the ingredients and drink it after your meal.
Yogurt in and of itself is not recommended in the summer because it aggravates Pitta. When made into lassi, however, yogurt’s Pitta qualities enhance digestion without increasing Pitta elsewhere in the body. Store-bought yogurt is more sour and Pitta-aggravating than homemade yogurt. For this reason, fresh yogurt is ideal for making lassi. Convenient yogurt makers are widely available in stores. Or you can make it easily with what you already have in your kitchen.
Heat 1 quart of milk to 185-195 degrees.
Take the pot off the stove and let it cool for a bit. Then place it in a sink filled with cool water until the milk cools to 120-115 degrees.
Once the milk cools to 120°-115°, add plain yogurt as a starter (1/4 cup). Do not use Greek yogurt. Mix well.
Pour milk with starter into a sterilized quart-sized canning jar.
Place the yogurt in a warm place and leave it undisturbed for 10 to 12 hours. Wrap the jar with a towel if your house is cool.
Here are some options:
Some people turn their oven on to 200° for about 5 minutes, turn off the oven and put the towel-wrapped yogurt in the oven with the oven light on.
Others prefer to put their yogurt in a cooler filled with 120° water and close the lid. Make sure the water comes to the top third of the jar.
Another approach is to wrap the towel-wrapped jar in a heating pad set to “high”.
Refrigerate your yogurt for at least 3 hours before eating.