The new coffee table book “Lassis of India – Smoothies with a Twist”, compiled by Radha Bhatia, Chairperson, Bird Group, has brought the spotlight on a popular traditional drink that is a regular feature in of the daily meal across India. A formal launch of the book was hosted at the Roseate House Aerocity, where the author, along with the publishers Ajay Mago and Sanjay Mago of Om Books International, unveiled the book. Most appropriately, a Lassi paired cuisine was served for the guests, who also got a taste of some unusual flavors such as Jalebi Lassi, Peda Lassi, Rose Lassi.
The “Lassis of India – Smoothies with a Twist” book is a compilation of 17 traditional recipes from various states, blending with the local food and climate. The balance 57 recipes are lassis with a twist – prepared with herbs, fruits, and nuts, which would attract the younger generation. The recipes ranging from ‘Meethi Lassi’ of Punjab to ‘Talicha More’ of Tamil Nadu – each with unique taste and health benefits are prepared, served and relished by Roseate Hotels guests. All the recipes in the book are simple and intended for the home cook.
Churned out of yogurt or dahi, lassi is very beneficial for the digestive system. It is light on the stomach and contains healthy bacteria that aid in smooth digestion. One common way of consuming dahi was to make a drink with it. This was a uniquely Indian invention. In Gujarat, most meals are accompanied by chhaas, which is savoury. In the North, sweet lassi is popular and in the South, savoury milk drinks are common.
Mrs Bhatia is a successful entrepreneur running multifaceted businesses, champion of women empowerment, and an accomplished cook. The book is a grandmother’s labour of love, which spans five generations of stories, wisdom, and recipes – starting from her own grandmother and down to her grandchildren. Radha Bhatia said, “The idea of writing a book on Lassis occurred to me when I realised that in today’s fast paced and hectic life, a healthy lifestyle and eating habits was a universal concern. Almost everything available for ready consumption today is processed, full of artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. And our age-old elixirs like Lassi have been almost relegated into obscurity. These tasty and healthy beverages, consumed over centuries in many different avatars across various parts of the country, are natural and full of ingredients with tremendous health benefits.”
Sharing his unique idea about Lassi, Vir Sanghvi editorial director HT said, “Dahi has an inexplicable cooling effect. It cools the body, no matter how hot the summer is. It is versatile. It can be used to make cool drinks and desserts. Even in winters dahi can be used to make marinade or for cooking. One common and most popular way of consuming dahi is to make Lassi from it. Even though India has a grand tradition of yogurt drinks, there is a need to talk about the Indian romance with yogurt and more specifically, have books on it. This book is a delightful attempt to redress that balance with wonderful recipes and great photos.”
Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International, said “Over lunch, Radha Bhatia said she wanted to do a book on Lassis, a very small book that would preserve an important component of our culinary heritage and culture. A great raconteur, Radha Bhatia went on to recount her personal journeys that led to her discovery of some of these variations. And that did it! Not a very small book; it would be a full-fledged book on Lassis of India, with traditional variations and modern avatars.”