Besides tea lassi must be the most recognisable, quintessentially Indian beverage. Traditionally lassi is available sweet or salty, with the sweet incredibly sweet and the salty yet to be tested, I’m not a fan of yoghurt and find the sugar makes lassi more tolerable.
It was a bit strange to see Lassi being made, I automatically think of a blender, some fruit and a little sugar. Rather than seeing a man sitting cross legged with a lipped mortar and wooden pestle of just in front of him rhythmically beating the yoghurt to a fluffy smooth liquid with some sugar. With a large flat dish or two of yoghurt and a collection of portion sized disposable ceramic pots at arms length he has everything he needs to create large amounts of this refreshing yoghurty beverage. Each cup being topped off with a few pistachios and some saffron liquor.
Sitting on the wooden benches staring out onto the chaotic street scene or a narrow lane, a lassi break gives an opportunity to stop, to relax and to calm somewhat, while the probiotics benefit the frequent turmoil of my stomach, the bench relieves my aching feet and my slightly overwhelmed mind.
I must confess of the lassi I had in Varanasi I preferred the non-traditional ones the most even the barely crushed pineapple version was tastier, I like the fruit element, the banana lassi was my favourite by far.