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The first time Tim took me to Indian food was the first time I liked Indian food. It was also the first time I ordered a lassi. I am half Indian, my dad grew up in southern India, and my Italian-German-Danish mom taught herself to make a mean curry, but I wasn’t on Team International Eating until well into my adult years.
By the time I’d met and married Tim, I liked plenty of different cuisines, just not Indian, so on our one-month wedding anniversary, we decided to celebrate by doing something to change that. We went to Nashville’s Sitar and ordered Tim’s favorites: butter chicken and garlic naan. Turns out pillowy herbed dough heady with garlic, alongside creamy, tender chicken, is not a hard sell. I was in.
Mostly though, there was that sweetened yogurt drink that had caught my eye on the menu and accompanied my meal. Served over ice in a tall glass, it was sweet, just barely, and flavored with rosewater – it was also the most wonderful offering I’d ever sipped through a straw.
I’ve ordered other lassis since, at other restaurants, and they’re usually nice, but that rosewater one is a stand-out. Tangy and frothy and not so sugary to give you a headache (which other lassis have been), it was the kind of drink you dream about for days after it’s yours.
Last week, Tim ordered rosewater. It’s pretty easy to find online, and it smells like bathroom potpourri, which is another way of saying I’m not outside enough.
Premium Rose Water By Cortas Canning Co via Amazon
You might be tempted, like I have been for years, to think making a splurge purchase on rosewater is out of hand, but, fresh from the lassis we had for breakfast this morning, let me tell you I was wrong. Rosewater imparts the irreplaceable flavor of roses into the foods it’s placed in, creating a floral flavor at once pleasant and unique.
NOTE: If you are using either product in a recipe, make sure you buy FOOD GRADE version from a reputable company.
Tim was reading the shakeology review with the recipe for this re-creation of my beloved restaurant drink, and, if you’ll permit me to brag on him for a minute, let me tell you it is spot-on. Pale and frothy, sweet but not overly so, with just enough tang to remind you of the yogurt and kefir but not enough to turn you away. Coupled with the cardamom, it holds the new first-place title of Best Drink I’ve Tasted in my book.
I couldn’t wait until another day to tell you about it, so here you go.
Get your hands on some rosewater and make this now.Print
Rosewater Cardamom Lassi
- 1 cup full-fat, organic yogurt
- 1 1/2 cup plain kefir
- 1/2 cup unrefined powdered sugar or powdered sucanat
- 1/2 teaspoon of FOOD GRADE rose water or rose hydrosol
- 1/8 teaspoon of organic cardamom powder
- Enough ice to fill two 16-ounce glasses about 3/4 of the way full
If you’re going to powder the sugar yourself (see the note below), start there: powder the Sucanat in a food processor or high-powdered blender (Skip this step if you’ve got unrefined powdered sugar on hand.)
Then, combine powdered sugar with yogurt, kefir, rosewater, and cardamom in a blender until smooth.
Serve over glasses filled with ice. Makes two servings.
A quick note on the powdered sugar: We used Sucanat and just ground it into a powder consistency by whirring it in the Vitamix as a first step. Whatever sugar you use, you want it to be essentially powdered in order for it to dissolve easily in the drink.
Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
24 thoughts on “Rosewater Cardamom Lassi: Nirvana on the Tongue”
Is cardamom powder the same thing as ground cardamom?
Cardamom is far and away my favorite spice, so as if I wasn’t already sold on this drink, your story has convinced me that I better head over to Amazon, purchase some rose water, and make this ASAP!!! 🙂
Yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Whenever I smell rose in my food, its as if I’m eating my grandmother (God bless her soul!)…in a non-sleazy way. I prefer orange blossoms over rose any day though. Less grandmother perfurme-y!
bahahaha! And orange blossoms sound lovely — one thing I will say for the rosewater here is you’ll notice it’s a tiny amount. A little goes a long way! And using a little definitely helps cut any sense of perfume, ha. : )
Well, if you’re telling me that it’s the best drink you’ve ever tasted, I think I better get on this bandwagon! : )
Oh please try it! I would love to know I’m not alone! : )
I don’t think I like Indian food either, but the garlic bread and butter chickens sounds delicious! Thanks for reminding me that I really need to make an effort to get more international in my eating. 😉
Erin, I’m telling you, when someone knows what to order for you, it’s a whole new ballgame. Garlic naan is a great gateway — Highly recommended!
Sounds delicious. I purchased rosewater this summer from a Shaker village for my own historical cooking projects, since it turns out that rosewater used to be more commonly used than vanilla for flavoring various baked goods. I use them interchangeably now, but that faint rosy perfume is so heady that I may stop using vanilla entirely!
Abby, I never heard that before! So interesting! I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting more in the future with this stuff — so unique!
I had no idea you had an Indian heritage — just another thing we share! (Technically, I’m Pakistani but we were all Indian once ;)) Interestingly, I grew up eating South Asian cuisine and love most everything EXCEPT rosewater and lassi. Whatever the reason, I just don’t find it palatable, but Tim’s version sounds lovely. Perhaps I should give it a try…
Get out! You don’t love lassi!? Haha I guess it’s not for everyone. Let’s go out for Indian food someday and I’ll take your lassi and you can have extras of my food… : )
I like lassi. Not that big a fan, though, because – as you’ve said it – most of them are too sweet. But I’d love to try this lassi recipe because making something with rosewater is too beautiful to pass up.
Yay! I hope you enjoy this version, Joshua!
I have never been a fan of sweet lassi’s more of a buttermilk (what Indians call Jhaach) person which light and has well balanced spice. This is perfect.
I’m with you, Kulsum. I’ve never heard the term Jhaach before, but I’m glad to know it now — That is right up my alley. : )
Indian is pretty much my favourite food of all time (when (not if!) you and Tim make it London, I am definitely taking you for a proper curry!) but I don’t think I’ve ever tried a lassi. I’m definitely going to have to change that because I love the way that you describe this : )
Oh my goodness, how much would we love to meet you in London for curry! Please let it happen!
I think it must have been my parents who first introduced me to Indian Lassi, Turkish Ayran (a savoury yoghurt drink) and how well they quench your thirst and counteract the heat of hot food. Over the years I have become a total convert and whenever I am anywhere where I can be sure mangoes are ripe enough I order a Mango Lassi when I come across it. Although I am not a big fan of rose water, I do have a bottle of orange blossom water I bought on a trip to Morocco last year – I usually use this for fruit salads but I am sure it would be lovely as a replacement for the rose water in your recipe.
I would love to try an orange blossom lassi — If you try it, let us know what you think!
I love that you added kefir to this. And rosewater and cardamom are two of my all-time favorite flavors. Awesome
Thanks, Kimberley! I am basically obsessed with this drink… : )