Summer is Here: Mango and Rhubarb Lassis


Two of my favourite fruits are currently in season albeit on different continents. In India, mangoes currently reign supreme, only rivalled by Bihari litchis at their peak. In Canada, glorious pink hued rhubarb is taking over neglected back corners of home gardens. I made my weekly visit to our neighbourhood Indian grocer to pick up a case of sweet Alphonso mangoes direct from Mumbai and to the Landsdowne Farmer’s Market in Ottawa for rhubarb and ripe ruby red Ottawa Valley strawberries. With the weather being hot and humid cooling afternoon drinks is a necessity. Here are two quick and easy lassi recipes; one sweet from the nectar of mangoes and the other shouting ‘summer is here’ with its refreshing sour and sweet flavour and gorgeous pink hue.

Mango Lassi
1 Alphonso mango *see note*
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 cup milk or water
1/2 cup ice
1 tbsp sugar

Peel, pit and chop the mango. Place in blender with yogurt, milk or water, ice and sugar. Blend to a puree. Serve as is or over ice.

*Note: When I cannot get fresh Alphonso mangoes I often substitute canned Alphonso mango puree. I like to freeze the puree in smaller 1/2 cup or 1 cup quantities for easy access when needed.

Rhubarb Strawberry Lassi
1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, washed, hulled and roughly chopped
4 tbsp sugar

2 cups plain yogurt
2 cup milk or water
1 cup ice

Place chopped rhubarb and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. As the rhubarb heats up some juice will be released. Cook for about five minutes, occasionally stirring. Add the strawberries and cook for another few minutes. Set aside and let cool. Place rhubarb/strawberry mixture in blender with yogurt, milk or water, ice and sugar. Blend to a puree. Serve as is or over ice.

Substitions: If strawberries are not available, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries can also be substituted. If using raspberries you may want to puree the fruit mix first then pass it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. If seeds do not bother you proceed as described above.

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