This recipe is for a dessert which uses the Indian staples of yogurt and mangoes. You'll find yogurt at Indian meals in the forms of raita, the yogurt and cucumber condiment, and in drinkable form as lassi. The basic formula for lassi is simple: equal parts yogurt and icy cold water. The crucial first step is to get the best tangy, full-flavored yogurt you can buy or make. Next, think about flavor. Lassi is enjoyed in both sweet and salty forms, and both can be spiced with ginger, cardamom, saffron, rosewater, mint, and other flavors. Besides the plain, lightly sweetened variety, my other favorite is the mango lassi, popularized by expatriate Indians worldwide. Vibrant hued and fruity, the mango lassi doubles as beverage and dessert. Mango lassi can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned mango. There is less room for negotiation on the variety of mango. Ask any Indian, and there is only one answer: the Alphonso, King of Fruits. All mangoes have a brief season and as a result are in short supply. The Indian Alphonso is no exception, and until recent times rarer still because of the US trade embargo that was not lifted until 2007. Many Indian cooks here use canned Alphonso pulp for their mango lassis and desserts, preferring its sweet and silky mangoeness over the fresh but inferior varieties more commonly available in US markets. Who am I to argue with millions of Indian mango lassi makers? I use Alphonso pulp to make my mango lassi smooth, sweet, and flavorful. To play on the dessert-worthy fruitiness of mango lassi, I've adapted it into a frozen yogurt with a subtle spicy undertone of ground cardamom and given it a crunchy topping of chopped pistachios. I serve this "frozen lassi" in a rice flour dessert crepe in a nod to the Indian crepe called a dosa. Traditionally, the South Indian dosa is a crepe made with a batter of fermented rice flour and urad dal, filled with savory and spicy fillings. In my dessert version, I've used a basic French crepe recipe but substituted sweet rice flour (mochiko) for the usual rice flour. —Beautiful, Memorable Food
6 to 8 servings
sweet rice flour (Mochiko)
butter, melted and cooled
Garnish: 6 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
Frozen Mango-Cardamom Lassi
whole fat plain yogurt (I use Strauss family creamery-- you can use any tart, whole fat, plain yogurt with active cultures, the tarter the better)
(available in Indian groceries and online)
sugar, or to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoons
ground cardamom (adjust to taste)
Whisk together first three ingredients in a bowl until well combined and light. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a crepe pan or small non-stick frying pan over medium heat and brush with melted butter.
Pour two tablespoons of dosa batter into heated pan and tilt immediately to coat bottom. Cook until the edges of the dosa are lightly browned and surface appears dry, about 30 seconds.
Use a wide spatula to flip over dosa, and cook other side for about 5 to 10 seconds.
Place cooked dosa onto a plate, and repeat process. Stack cooked doses on top of one another until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, place a dosa onto a individual serving plate (keeping it flat) and top with a few scoops of frozen mango-cardamom lassi (recipe follows). Fold up each side of the dosa to wrap around the frozen lassi, leaving a slight opening. Garnish frozen lassi with chopped pistachios, if desired.
Frozen Mango-Cardamom Lassi
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and sugar is dissolved.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill mixture in refrigerator for a minimum of an hour until very cold.
Place chilled mixture in an ice cream maker and mix for 25-30 minutes, until thickened.
Serve as soft serve or freeze for several hours for firmer texture, if desired. Excellent on its own, even better served with dessert dosas (above).