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Indian Drinks

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Indian Drinks Lassi Sweet Lassi Salty

Feeling hot and bothered? In need of refreshing? Why not try fresh limeade or lassi, a spicy chai or fruity sherbert?

The Indian sub-continent is home to a wide variety of cooling drinks. The heat and humidity of the country requires its residents to take in a lot of liquid during the day, and with such choice, it's a not a hard task.

Traditionally an Indian meal will be accompanied with plain water but occasionally lassi will be served as well.


Lassi is thinned yoghurt with added ingredients that make it sweet or salty. With a meal, a salty lassi may be served as an aid to digestion.

Sweet Lassi

  • 8 fl oz natural yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
  • 8 fl oz cold water
  • Ice cubes

Whisk the yogurt until smooth. Stir in the sugar and cardamom. Add, stirring, the water. Add some ice cubes and stir again. Pour into glasses and serve as a refreshing drink.

Mango Lassi

  • 1 cup thick natural yoghurt
  • 5 cups milk or water
  • 1 cup mango flesh
  • Sugar to taste

In a blender, mix together the yoghurt, milk or water and mango until smooth and frothy. Add sugar to taste. Serve in glasses over crushed ice.

Banana Lassi

  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Blend together until smooth. Serve in glasses over crushed ice.

Salty Lassi

  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons root ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup water

Place the yoghurt in a bowl. Put the grated in a fine sieve and hold it over the bowl. Press down so that all the juice from the ginger is squeezed into the yoghurt. Discard the ginger flesh.

Add the salt and cumin to the yoghurt and mix well. Gradually blend in the water.

Serve in ice-filled glasses.

Jaggery is a form of raw cane sugar. It's sold in lumps from a block and is available from Asian grocers. If you're buying it, make sure the block is crumbly not rock-hard; if necessary, you can use dark brown sugar in its place.


  • 2 tablespoons jaggery
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • 1 cardamom, crushed
  • 6 black peppercorns, crushed

Crumble the jaggery in the water, stir and leave until completely dissolved. Strain then add the spices and stir well. Serve over crushed ice.

Pistachio Milk

  • 3 tablespoons raw pistachios
  • 3½ cups milk
  • 6 saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Reserving 4 pistachios, place the rest in a blend and pulse a few times. Add ½ cup milk and blend until smooth. Slowly add another cup of milk and blend again.

Place this mixture plus the remaining milk and the saffron in a thick-based saucepan. Bring rapidly to the boil, stirring all the time. As soon as it froths, remove from the heat. Do this twice more and then turn off the heat.

Dissolve the sugar in the hot milk and then strain into the blender. Blend well until the milk is frothy.

Slice the reserved pistachios into slithers and serve the milk warm, sprinkled with the chopped nuts.


  • 10 tablespoons lime juice
  • 8 tablespoons icing sugar
  • ½ pint soda water

Stir the sugar into the lime juice, mixing until dissolved. Gradually pour in the soda water, stirring. Serve in ice-filled glasses.


(This is a typical recipe for traditional spiced tea.)

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • ½" cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tea (or 2 teabags)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Sugar to taste

Place the water and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tea and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and return to the boil. Immediately take from the heat and strain into cups.Vary the spices to suit your own taste.

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