Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Bee, and a Mango Lassi

I have a bee story for you that is directly related to this post, more on that below. But first things first. Mango Lassi, perfectly refreshing. Not sickly sweet, and easy to make. The method below is just a method, adjust flavors to your taste. The lassi I'm writing about is a sweet, not salty lassi.

Mango Lassi with Tapioca pearls.
I sometimes add boba, or tapioca pearls like you get at the bubble tea shops. It's so easy to cook in the Instant Pot. It's a fun treat for the kids. The recipe or method for cooking these in no time flat follows the recipe below. Additions are great for a little hint of something else, but the star should be the mango and the slightly tart yogurt.
There are many brands of mango nectar, use your favorite.
I have used mango nectar and it works wonderfully, I just use less honey to sweeten. Usually mango for lassi's (not sure that's a word) are the yellow smaller ones (Alphonse) that are more narrow and ...long in shape. They are harder to find, but if you have a good Asian market near you when they are in season you can pick some up, cut them into chunks and flash freeze them.

Alphonse mango on the left.
Check my freezer tip tag for more information on freezing different foods. More widely available are the round mango that are greenish red, here in the states anyway. You want a really ripe mango. You can see more varieties and names of mango on the site.

Mango Pulp.
Mango pulp can be used also. It is usually sweetened but you can adjust for that. One thing that mango pulp and mango nectar yield are more consistent results. One cup of each of those will generally be close to one cup all the time. But when using fresh mango, one mango can sometimes yield 2 cups of mango, sometimes just 1.5. This is due to size and how you cut your mango. So follow the recipe below but adjust to your taste.

We enjoy these Mango Lassi as a snack or after meal treat. Traditionally they are enjoyed with a spicy meal to cool down the palette. But they are great anytime I think.

NOW my bee story!

One day I made mango lassi and took them with us to soccer. On the way there this bee hitched a ride on our car. I couldn't believe he held on so long. As we sped down the highway he moved closer to the window and dug his little legs between the window and the rubber part of the car.  I was pretty sad and concerned that we were taking him so far from his home and the area he was used to. But I didn't want to open the window and break his little legs. I seriously considered turning around to drop him off, but we were late, and DH was with us. I do crazy stuff all the time, but not so much him. I did tell DH that if there was any way to get him home I was going to do it.
Hanging on for dear life. :(
By the time we got to the soccer field he wasn't moving at all. :( I thought he was going to die. He was so exhausted and it was already a little cold, I'm sure the wind chill made it worse. I tried to give him some water but he still didn't move. I thought maybe he was dead and just kind of frozen in place.
Not a water drinker I guess.
Then I put a drop of Mango Lassi next to him and he moved over and started drinking it up! I couldn't believe it. It was so neat because we could look up really close on the other side of the glass and see him drinking and his tongue extended. There's a video if you scroll down.

Bee drinking up the mango lassi.
Yay!! Look at him go! He was so fuzzy looking too.

He still wasn't moving that much, So we left him be. (Pun not intended.)
After our two soccer games we checked and he was still on the window! SO, I grabbed a clean glass jar and put it next to the bee and said "If you get in this jar, we'll drive you home." Yes, ya'll I talk to bees, animal, plants. ANYWAY, he TOTALLY WENT IN THE JAR! #beewhisperer here. On the drive home it was warmer in the car so he was a little more active, opening his wings and walking around.
Warming up on the ride home.
When we got home, we let him go. He flew, I'm not sure HOW for he got, it was almost sundown, he was on our car for 3, almost four hours. But I am glad he got close to home and we were able to help him. Apparently Mango Lassi are yummy, probably was the honey in it.
YAY for bees!!

Well then, let's just get to the recipe huh?

Mango Lassi

2 ripe mango, about 550 grams (roughly 3 cups mango)
1.5 cups yogurt, plain unsweetened**  about 360 grams
1-3 tablespoons of honey, about 22-66 grams
Ice cubes

Optional additions (not all at once, pick one, the mango is the star here)
2 mint leaves
Pinch of green cardamom powder
Rose water
Pinch of saffron strands
Boba/ Tapioca pearls (Recipe follows)

  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, along with additions if using.
  2. If this is too thick for your tastes, add water, buttermilk, milk, or whey.
  3. Garnish with mint leaves or pinch of cardamom if using these in the lassi.

*Fresh mango alternatives:
Mango nectar, well chilled to taste
Frozen mango chunks
**If you like buttermilk, a combination of buttermilk and yogurt can be used. Or yogurt and leftover whey from straining, if you like it tart.
If you would like a vegan lassi, use coconut milk or coconut milk yogurt. Sweetened with cane juice.

Freezer Tip-
  1. Mango can be flash frozen in chunks, then stored in a bag. 
  2. Mango nectar or puree, yogurt, whey, and buttermilk can be frozen in an ice cube tray.

Boba, Bubble Tea or Tapioca Pearls

155 grams boba or tapioca pearls (about one cup)
2 cups water

  1. Put tapioca and water into the liner of the Instant Pot, stir so none are stuck to the liner.
  2. Cook on MANUAL, HIGH pressure for TWO minutes.
  3. Once it is done, do a quick release of the steam by carefully opening the vent. I have waited two minutes and the pearls weren't too soft.
  4. Rinse the pearls in water and use them right away.
  5. To store: Place the tapioca in a simple syrup for up to four hours at room temperature. If refrigerated they will start to harden. If this happens you can gently reheat on the stove, some of the texture will be lost though. I suggest just making as you go. It's only a few minutes!

 I hope you'll try this recipe, and let me know how it goes!
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