March 20, 2011

The Ultimate Savoury Lassis

Last week I ordered a salted lassi at an Indian restaurant and got it in a pint glass. I didn’t even get a straw. It was an entirely bizarre experience which I can’t say I’d like to try again – lassi moustaches really don’t suit me.

Got lassi?

Forget beer and wine, I think nothing compliments an Indian meal better than lassi. It’s a cooling, yogurt-based drink with palate cleansing properties that balance out a spicy Indian meal perfectly. You really couldn’t get a more traditional drink.

The roots of lassi are firmly embedded in Punjabi cuisine from Northern India and parts of Pakistan. Many Indian and Pakistani regions have adapted the refreshing beverage to suit their individual cooking styles and tastes. 

Tempered lassi with curry leaves and mustard seeds. A fragrant South Indian touch.
There are so many variations of lassi out there that I had to limit myself to just four versions of salted lassi. In case you hadn’t noticed, I prefer salted over sweet. Sweet lassis are really popular equivalents to smoothies, in flavours ranging from mango to pistachio – delicious, but not as interesting as spiced, savoury versions.

A quick guide to lassi

As well as being popular in the Punjab, salted lassi (or chaas) is also the drink of choice to accompany the classic working mans lunch for the many farmers in Porbander (Gujarat). Chaas usually accompanies a lunch of buckwheat chapattis (rotla), rice and lentil stew (khichdi) and aubergine curry (oroh).

Chaas differs to lassi slightly in its consistency, which is made slightly thinner with water. Like salted lassi, it can be blended with various herbs and spices to create a cocktail of mouth-watering flavours.

Chilli and coriander lassi – for the brave. Add a dab of crushed garlic for an added kick.

Sweet lassi can be compared with its western counterpart – the smoothie. It’s popularly made with fruits like strawberries, mangoes and pineapples. Rose lassi and saffron lassi are also popular choices, but can be somewhat of an acquired taste. Sometimes, cream or butter is added to sweet lassi to give it a richness which I’m not particularly crazy about together with the sourness of the yogurt.

Basic Salted Lassi
(serves 4)


7 tbsp Greek yogurt
650ml iced water
1 tsp salt


1. Blend all of the ingredients together and pour into salt and sugar-rimmed glasses.

Flavour variations


Toasted Cumin Lassi

Blend together: 
1 x recipe for basic salted lassi
1 tsp toasted, ground cumin seeds
1/8 tsp
black salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Tempered Lassi with Curry Leaves

Temper 3 curry leaves, ½ tsp mustard seed and  ¼ tsp asafoetida in 1 tsp oil until the mustard seeds pop. Pour over 1 x recipe for basic salted lassi.

Chilli and Coriander Lassi

Whisk together:
1 x recipe basic salted lassi
2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
1 hot green chilli, chopped finely

Enjoy with spicy food on a hot day and don’t forget your straw – unless you can really rock a lassi ‘stache.

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27 responses to “The Ultimate Savoury Lassis”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful showcase of a very humble recipe!
    Thanks for the amazing variations, love the chilli variation BUT I am not that BRAVE – it DOES howevever look AWESOME!!!!

    Love the way you present ALL your reipes,thanks for that, because for people like me who does'nt know much about Indian food – it's interesting.

    Thank again for a great blog post and good luck.

  2. AshKuku says:

    Purr-fect for this season….. That is one thing I'm always at a look out for…. Very tempting captures….. Slurpee!!!!!


  3. Vaishali Sharma says:

    Yum!! Love the savory lassi…..perfect to go with a meal.
    Hey this goes perfectly with the ongoing spring event with giveaway on my blog…would love to see ur entries…date is extended till 30th March.

    U can get the details here

  4. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Beautiful pics and lassi is perfect for this summer

  5. Priya says:

    Love the different sort of lassis,super refreshing and yumm!

  6. Mr. P says:

    I am envisioning a beetroot and cumin lassi. Think pink.

  7. Kathy Gori says:

    Sanjana these are stunning! As soon as it warms up a bit around here I can't wait t make these. Lassis are a life saver on those hot Sonoma summer days.

  8. hario8591 says:

    I like my lassi with 2 chillies, corriander and salt, liquidised with some ice. YUM. Love dad & Saint Bapu.

  9. The Mistress of Spices says:

    These sound and look gorgeous…and very creative! P.S. maybe I've already said this, but you should totally do a photography tutorial. Your pics are always so beautiful!

  10. Kankana says:

    I am saving this .. we love lassi so much and with so many variety .. wow! 🙂

  11. penny aka jeroxie says:

    I love lassi. So refreshing and yummy.

  12. Prathima Rao says:

    This is just right for this hot weather here!!!! Very well presented…U have a lovely blog here sanjana..My first time here & dropped in thru Nithya`s blog & i was wondering how i cud have missed such an awesome till now!!! Well better late than never!!! Happy to be ur newest follower…cya..
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  13. Mr. P says:

    I so need to email you. But am off on holiday, so it'll be a while. Haven't forgotten our little project. On the contrary, it is consuming huge chunks of my time!

  14. Cooking Foodie says:

    Lovely post and what is better than lassi with summer around the corner…

  15. Cooking Foodie says:

    And yes… i like the salt on the rims!

  16. Ushnish Ghosh says:

    Dear Sanjana
    Great collection. Today I had a Lassi mustache on my real mustache at a wayside "Dhaba"..disgusting indeed…
    Now it is summer time and I am all out for lassi, the salted one of course. I shall try some of your recipes which are new for me.
    Have a nice day

  17. Srivalli says:

    Beautiful pictures Sanjana..too lovely!

  18. Mina Joshi says:

    Love the variety of lassis. As usual, you have managed to make a simple Lassi sexy to have!! Love your photographs too.


  19. Nishi says:

    Hi Sanjana,

    I'm new to your space and Totally loving it!! I can't wait to follow you 🙂

  20. Jill Shepherd says:

    How ironic. I just introduced the mango lassi to my kids this week. I'd not had them before but had some mangoes and was sick of the strawberry banana smoothie. Had no idea bout the savory versions. Can't wait to try these.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I had a very tasty saffron lassi in Sri Lanka. I recreated it at home and it was just as delicious.

  22. Rashom says:

    It is not Chaas but "CHAACH"

  23. Farida says:

    Yum.. yummy…that look so fresh and sweet make me want to drink it. Tanks for share


  24. Sara says:

    Great! Favourited 🙂 Thank you!

  25. Some random indian guy says:

    Try a generous sprinkling of Asafoetida ( – this is a classic south indian combo. Plain salted lassi with a couple of shakes of this is just heaven.

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