food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

lassiLassi, the quintessential Indian yogurt drink to temper the fiery spices of Punjabi cuisine. In India, both sweet and savoury varieties are enjoyed – with the savoury ones often having spices such as cumin, and of course not a little salt. In the West we are perhaps more familiar with the sweet ones, mainly mango. Slippery, perfumed pulp blended with yogurt and ice. Perhaps a touch of saffron, or a pinch of cardamom. Simple but incredibly delicious.

lassiEvery Indian restaurant worth its salt (geddit) will offer at least a couple of lassis to cool the diner down and aid digestion. And often these restaurants – at least in the West – will offer cold, pale ale. In tall, vase-like glasses. Thirst-quenching for some, but when you want to cool down, there is nothing like a tall foamy lassi, condensation beading on the tall glass. Am I selling it to you?

But thinking about the ingredients, and the potential ingredients, I have hit upon a realisation: it is a near-perfect hangover ‘cure.’

This may be a slight overstatement: rip-roaring hangovers that involve, shall we say, purging, just need time, sleep and tiny steady sips of water. But the more garden-variety, one drink too many hangover may well be tamed with a little smarts and a blender.

You see, probiotic yogurt is populated by bacteria known to slow the “washing machine effect” that some may feel after a night on the town. It also contains cysteine, an amino acid depleted by alcohol and known to help to break down and detoxify many harmful substances, including alcohol (weird, huh). If one can literally stomach the idea of yogurt at such a delicate time, it may do a world of good.

Especially when paired with banana, lychees, honey, cardamom and nutmeg. Just a little and the yogurt is transformed from “ugh” to if not “mmm” than at least “well, alright then.”

The magic ingredients? Potassium, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Fructose, Glucose. And the spices are not there just to taste good – although that is of course a good enough reason – they are known in Ayurvedic medicine to calm the stomach by relaxing the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. Both also help with pain and inflammation. As for the pinch of salt lurking among the sweet ingredients, well that is there to help replace lost salts due to undoubted dehydration.

So why am I banging on about hangovers? Three words: New Year’s Eve. I’m not judging. Just here to help. ;D I know most of us are healthy living types so this probably doesn’t really apply to you, but this lassi is a lovely, refreshing drink in any case. Perfect as a dessert option after a home-cooked Indian meal.

What of other cures? Here’s the gen on some tried and somewhat tested hangover cures. And this article from the Huffington Post is quite interesting, with ideas of what to do pre and post-drinking. But there is another ‘cure’ that was buzzed earlier this year: Sprite. Yes, Sprite. Of course, the best cure is actually prevention, but I do acknowledge that most of us who drink alcohol will go a teensy bit overboard at some point or other. Not necessarily impaired, but perhaps a bit less fresh-faced and perky the following day. Ageing, sex, hormonal fluctuations, medication and a host of other factors can also make even one or two drinks feel like three or four.

As we are on teen taxi duty this NYE we won’t be testing my pet theory about lassis just yet. But I can vouch that it is blender-licking good, and works wonders on a queasy stomach. And, lastly, you don’t need a hangover to enjoy this Banana-Lychee Lassi. It makes a wondrously perky breakfast smoothie with a side of something like porridge or scrambled eggs.

Are you making any good mocktails this New Year’s Eve? What ‘cures’ have you heard about that might help?

lassi-ingredientsBanana-Lychee Lassi

Last year: Peanut, Sweet Potato and Black-Eyed Pea Stew for New Year’s Day

Two year’s ago: Brilliant Blinis with Sweet and Savoury Toppings; Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day Good Luck

My pet theory is that this sweet, faintly savoury lassi ‘cures’ a hangover. But hangover or not, it is a delicious way to end a spicy meal, or start the day. Leave out the lychees if you can’t get them (they are easily available in the UK right now), or even the banana. But cardamom and nutmeg are clear flavour winners and I urge you to keep them. Vegans, non-dairy yogurt is a perfect substitute for the live yogurt, but be sure to get the bio (live) kind to get the full benefit to your gut.

Organic Bio Yogurt or kefir – 250g (scant 1 cup)

Water or Organic Milk – enough to thin

Small Banana – sliced

Lychees – 8, peeled and stoned (optional)

Cardamom – 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of ground seed Β or as powder (try with 1/8 first)

Nutmeg – 1/8 – 1/4 tsp freshly grated (as above)

Good Honey, Date Syrup or Maple Syrup – 1-2 tbsp, to taste (may not need if using both fruits)

Salt – a pinch OR (this is a bit hardcore, but loaded with B vitamins) nutritional yeast/brewer’s yeast

5 ice cubes

Pop it all in a blender and blitz until smooth. Drink immediately and then perhaps have some ibuprofen and a glass of water.

Serves 1.

PS All of today’s photos were taken on my phone (Sony Xperia S) and I used Aviary to edit them. I went a bit wild on the first one though! Lots of noise ;D

26 thoughts on “Banana-Lychee Lassi

  1. Laura says:

    Hangover cure or not, I think this just sounds good!

  2. This is so well written and convincing too. I want to try this drink now and I don’t have a hangover. (hopefully will not on Wednesday morning too!) Great post and happy new year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too. I am glad you like this in its own right πŸ˜€

  3. I buy saffron in the international isle at my grocery store for about one third the cost of the regular. I also buy other expensive spices like cardamom at my local heath food store where I can buy it by as little as a teaspoon full.

    1. Good point. Here in the UK we are blessed with an abundance of Asian supermarkets and corner shops that sell spices and things like chapati flour and dried beans for ridiculously low prices. But interestingly I have never found cardamom powder, just the green or resinous black pods. I always bring back Spice Island brand cardamom powder from the US and use it in baking. I like the fresh pods for Indian food.

      1. I don’t think I noticed that you live in the UK. My husband is a Brit. My favorite place there is Bulstrode (WEC headquarters) at Jerrod’s Crossing.

  4. this looks delicious. and also like it could come in handy.

  5. Love lassi– what a nice flavor combo!

  6. narf77 says:

    An excellent post full of delicious probiotics. I must say, I just had 2 glasses of ginger wine and am just about to eat my dinner and then fall asleep. No staying power at all, but somewhere, someone is staying awake to toast in the New Year and here’s hoping that after they do it in style, they find this wonderful post redolent with New Years cheer and the hope of a balanced morning Ahoy! Happy New Year Kellie, Miss R and family and here’s to an amazing New Year full of excellent posts, possibilities and postulation πŸ™‚

    1. You will be perhaps be asleep as I write this reply, but I hope you had a great evening and that 2014 holds all good things for you and the denizens of Serendipity Farm. Thanks so much for your continued interest in the goings on at the house of Food to Glow, and Miss R says thanks for the thumbs up from you.

  7. Being a punjabi i love lassi….consumed almost everyday at my home…….:)

    1. Thanks! I hope this one has your seal of approval πŸ˜€

  8. Deena Kakaya says:

    Exotic and soothing, I love it xx

  9. what a great post! I am a new follower, please follow me back ! http://www.dramatiquedesigns.wordpress.com

  10. Happy New Year!
    Huge thanks for another year of fantastic recipes and staggeringly beautiful photos. Thankfully I’m not in need of a hangover cure today πŸ™‚ but it looks delish for any day x

    1. Aw thanks Miss Niki. As always, a comment from you brightens my day. I hope yo see you very soon. xxx

  11. Yum! Beautiful photos too. Happy New Year!

  12. This lassi is so my thing. We have lassi all summer but due to the cold weather we avoid it a little bit. Yogurt isn’t the best with winter. Will try out your recipe as well, once things ‘hot’ down!

    1. I bet from an Ayurvedic perspective yogurt isn’t a top winter ingredient for sure (to cooling) but it is also lovely without the extra cooling influence of ice too. I hope you make it when we get a wee bit warmer. It is a real favourite here in my house. I am not much of a banana person but this is a great way for me to include one in my diet. Thanks for commenting, and Happy New Year to you.

  13. Urvashi Roe says:

    Love love love. Why did I not think of this already. Let me know if you’d like some cardamom powder sending up. Our Indian grocer has little pots πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks my sweet Miss Urvashi! I am good for cardamom powder as I buy it when I am in the US but I will see if it is in some of my normal foodie haunts, like Maqbools. I have looked around but only well-rpiced whole pods of green and black cardamom. Maybe I should actually ask some time. But thank you so much. I hope you try the lassi. Perhaps when it is warmer!

  14. You and your awesome recipes! πŸ™‚
    I will make this right now!
    Have a wonderful new year Kellie! :*

  15. I’ve not tried making a lassi before. I’ve seen them, but never gave them a try. I love the cardamom. My mother used it all the time. It brings back good memories. I’m off to see where I can find lychees. Have a terrific weekend!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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