A lassi is a yogurt-based drink popular in India and Pakistan. Sometimes salty and sometimes sweet (Indian restaurants here in the United States usually make them with mango), lassis are often enjoyed after a spicy meal. This red currant and pomegranate lassi made with kefir is not at all traditional, but I think it makes a perfect breakfast or snack on a hot summer’s day.
Kristen from POM Wonderful has graciously sent me samples of their pomegranate juice a few times. I absolutely love the product, but because it’s so sweet, I don’t really drink it on it’s own: I generally use it in recipes so I can cut down on the use of other “less healthy” sweeteners.
I’m big on cultured foods because they are naturally high in probiotics that support good digestion. Homemade yogurt is one of my favorite cultured foods, but I also enjoy making my own kefir. If you’re not familiar with it, kefir is a cultured dairy product originating from the mountains of Asia. It differs from yogurt because it cultures at room temperature and it’s made with kefir “grains” (though you can also make a version of it with a freeze-dried kefir starter like this one). Kefir is also available commercially at stores that carry natural foods.
Kefir has a somewhat tart flavor that is similar to yogurt, but it has a thinner consistency and is a bit more “fizzy”. It’s really good mixed with some fresh fruit and/or juice, so I knew it would work well in this lassi.
I’ve never made a recipe with red currants before, but I found these local ones and could not pass them up.
It was way too hot to bake anything with them, so I figured they’d get blended into this lassi, as well. Like the kefir, they are a little sour: a good match for the sweet and delicious pomegranate juice.
I added just a pinch of each of the spices in a nod to the lassi’s Indian heritage, but you can use more, if you like (or just leave them out). I used only 1 teaspoon of the pomegranate molasses because I wanted my drink more tart than sweet, but the amount you add is really up to you.
Red currants are quite high in vitamins and they are also high in fiber; POM wonderful pomegranate juice is high in anti-oxidants. When combined with the super healthy kefir, you end up with a lovely pink drink that is extremely good for you, and extremely refreshing, too.
Red currants do contain tiny seeds, and these add a slight chunky quality to this drink, so you’ll need to chew it a little. If you prefer a completely smooth lassi, you can strain the seeds out (I think a fine mesh strainer would work) after you blend it.
Recipe for Lassi with Red Currants and Pomegranate Juice
*3/4 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
*3/4 cup organic kefir (or organic plain whole milk yogurt)
*about 3/4 cup fresh red currants (or fresh berries of your choice)
*1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, raw honey or pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
*pinch of ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
*pinch of ground cardamon, plus more to taste
*pinch of ground ginger, plus more to taste
Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness and spices, if desired.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!