Is there anything more sublime than a really good lassi taken on a hot day? In my travels around this country, I am always looking out for the best lassi.Is there anything more sublime than a really good lassi taken on a hot day? In my travels around this country, I am always looking out for the best lassi.
A true lassi walla makes it a personal art form and life quest to devise a particular combo, recipe and choice of additives for a truly special lassi. I will state up-front that the lassi of Odisha is one of the bests in India. Such a great array of lassi stalls springing up everywhere in summer, and some of these with so many additives like freshly grated coconut, dried fruits and nuts and even malt powder, chocolate, crushed biscuit, and almost anything one can imagine. It behooves the consumer to retrieve all the additives before the liquid strands them at the bottom of the glass.
However, there is a more ‘purist’ form of the lassi. In Varanasi for example, the extra appeal of the really good lassi is that it is served in traditional un-fired clay cups and the creamiest dahi made from buffalo milk is used. Otherwise the simple addition of rose water, rabri, and a top of creamy malai just adds simple quality. The dahi is often made on site in large clay (again unfired and disposable) pans. Chopped pistachios and cashew nuts are often added.
I would also say that a particular store in Haridwar has one of the best and creamiest lassi I have ever encountered. Gujarat also has a particular style of lassi which I also just love; very plain but there is something about the thickness of the dahi.
Ajmer (Rajasthan) gets a special mention here for it’s lassi – again clay pots and very very good. I always indulge in a lassi when I am in town.
Now I’d consider including the corner lassi at Pahar Ganj in Delhi – but I have to say (although I have had many a good lassi there) : “Guys, you need to do something about your health and hygiene standards – it’s just not a good look when the back of your shop looks like a dump; when the smell of open drains are often about; and one just wonders about the water you use and the flies etc.” But great effort none the less for this excellent lassi.
It is rare in my experience to have a great lassi in a restaurant or other non-specialist shop. I just think that lassi lends itself to being the event in specialist outlets where the art of lassi making is the main focus. Ah, nothing like it! One must be disciplined to limit oneself to just one lassi a day.