Chaat – Not Related to Chit

Vik’s Chat House in Berkeley, CA is a real gem. They started out as a small storefront and distribution company for all ingredients needed to cook authentic Indian food. They grew into a warehouse like restaurant that offers some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. Their mango lassi (a thick yogurt smoothie made with mangoes, yogurt water and ice) is delectable and necessary to cool off from some of their hot dishes.

Chaat means “to lick”.  In India, chaat is street food so it is traditionally served in small portions, on banana leaves, with no utensils. There are no banana leaves at Vik’s Chaat House, there are only spoons. They are about to move to a new location which means they may even update their website to include online access to many of the incredible ingredients they sell.

If you have never had a mango lassi, they are worth trying. You can find more traditional recipes on the web but here is a less traditional one that I developed while working for Odwalla. My wonderful friend, Thangam told me that her family adds a dash of asafoetida, the resin of  a fennel bulb into their mango lassi, which does lend an interesting flavor and also helps with digestion.

Barr’s Mango Lassi – Rich and Thick

3/4 cup Orange Juice
Fresh or frozen mango pieces, about 1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup Apple Juice
(Optional – just makes it a bit sweeter, as the plain yogurt is a little sour)

Mix everything together in a blender or with your hand blender.  Serve immediately.

Another, even faster version of Mango Lassi can be made with Simply Orange with Mango.  It is a new favorite with my kids. You can make a quick and not as thick Lassi using it. Simply whisk 3/4 cup of mango orange juice with 1/4 cup of plain yogurt (make sure it has live active cultures).  Serve over ice. This is a thinner version, but is very refreshing and a great way to get your morning dose of probiotics.

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