Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesdays I Spent with Biji, Mango Lassi

Original description: Photo taken by myself of...Original description: Photo taken by myself of Alphonso Mangoes in a box surrounded by straw to provide insulation. This is a free image and has no rights attached to it and may be used freely. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Tuesdays, I spent time with Biji. Biji came to the United States to bring her son a proper Indian wife, after he had found a job and settled in America. They are a Sikh family, from northern Punjab, India. Since Biji was widowed, she followed tradition and moved in with her son when she brought her daughter-in-law here to Washington.

I thought Biji’s home was beautiful. It appealed to the magpie in me. The colors were bright and happy- magentas and mustards, peacock blues and greens. There were silk fabrics, and fancy sequins, throughout. Biji’s house always looked like it was dressed for a party.

On Tuesdays, Biji’s family celebrates the monkey god, Hanuman. Before the fire burned down our apartment building, Biji placed flowers in the shrine that took up a full wall in their living room. It was here that Biji spent her time in meditation and prayed to Hanuman for strength and prosperity. It is customary to eat only vegetarian meals on Hanuman’s day to assure good luck. Biji thought that there were some things that I must learn to cook properly, like Tandoori chicken, so we sometimes broke the rules. On those days, we lay extra flowers and prayed a little harder.

One of my favorite things I made at Biji’s house was mango lassi. Sweet and refreshing, simple to make, we used the homemade yoghurt that was always in the big Tupperware bowl, tightly sealed with a red lid.


One of the most popular drink of PunjabOne of the most popular drink of Punjab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2 mangos - peeled, seeded and diced
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup ice (it helps if you get this from the fridge door already crushed)

Put it all in the blender and blend to smooth. If it isn’t mango season, or the grocery only has green mangos, you can use canned mangos or mango pulp (about 16 oz). It makes a smoother drink, but to me it’s missing the bright nutritious taste of using fresh. Biji likes to drink her lassi with a dusting of cardamom. I like mine with a sprig of mint freshly picked from Jadda’s garden.
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