Saturday, 18 September 2010

Kelay ki Lassi

"India is a milky country" Madhur Jaffrey

They also know a thing or two about cooling the body. Which is a good thing as I have one body at home with a cold and fever. To soothe his heated and parched throat, and in celebration of her autobiography Climbing the Mango Trees, this month's Cook the Books bookclub selection, I made Madhur Jaffrey's Kelay ki Lassis. Sweet banana lassi. (recipe below)

Climbing the Mango Trees, A Memoir of a Childhood in India, was a wonderful glimpse into mysterious and complex India, the author's place of birth. She shares vignettes of her family throughout the years, against the backdrop of an ever-changing country rich in paradox and tradition. I grew very attached to the lives of her family and indeed felt bereft when the book was over. Events such as the British colonization and eventual withdrawal, world wars, Ghandi's assassination, and Partition, form some of the backdrop to her deeply personal tales.I appreciated witnessing these events through her eyes, and gained some new understanding into what otherwise seemed so far away to me.

And of course the food. Madhur spellbinds her readers with the poetic descriptions of fresh fruits and spicy dishes of her country. I was especially interested in how Indian cuisine changed after Partition, when bodies of peoples shifted locations within the country(s) and brought their cooking styles with them. I quite enjoyed this book, and hope that Ms. Jaffrey writes a follow-up. Or two. 

Kelay ki Lassi
Sweet Banana Lassi
Cool, sweet, and nourishing
adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

If you haven't yet discovered Madhur Jaffrey, she has authored many wonderful cookbooks on Indian, and other, cuisines. She is a personal favourite of mine. 

1 cup plain yogurt
1 ripe peeled and sliced banana
2 Tbsp extra fine sugar (optional)
10 ice cubes
1/4 tsp ground cardamom, or to taste

Combine in a blender and blend, a few pieces of ice chunks are fine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Pour into glasses, over ice if you wish, and serve.