12:00 AM EST
Happy Holi: Bhang Lassi
Bhang Lassi, despite its name is actually a variation on thandai, a rich Rajasthani almond-flavored drink. A more accurate title for this recipe would be bhang ki thandai. It is typically enjoyed during the Hindu spring festival of Holi which begins today (March 8, 2012). Bhang is an herb. I’ll leave it at that.
• 1 carton (32 ounces) almond milk
• Bhang, as your budget affords
• 1 tablespoon ghee (Indian clarified butter)
• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
• 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
• Pinch of saffron
• 1-inch piece of ginger
• 1/2 cup superfine sugar
• 12 black peppercorns
• Grenadine, to taste
• Khus syrup, to taste
• Rose orange blossom water, to taste
• Coconut milk, to taste
Step 1: Prepare the Bhang. Bring a scant quarter cup of almond milk and the ghee to almost a boil and remove from heat. Using a mortar and pestle combine the bhang with liquid to form a green paste.
Step 2: Prepare the Thandai Base. Grind poppy, fennel and cardamom seeds and half the black peppercorns into a fine powder. In a saucepan bring ginger, saffron and the remaining almond milk to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before adding spice powder and bhang paste. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
Step 3: Finishing the Bhang Lassi. Using cheese cloth or a sieve strain the spiced almond milk. Add the sugar and remaining peppercorns and mix well. The rest is up to you: add grenadine, khus syrup (a sweet vetiver-derived flavoring), rose or orange blossom water and/or coconut milk to taste. Serve chilled.
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