Serious Eats: Recipes
Zero Proof: Papaya Lassi
Before Jamba Juice and Smoothie King took over our morning meals and afternoon snacks, there was the lassi. This yogurt-based beverage has been an Indian tradition for hundreds, and some say thousands, of years. A lassi can be either sweet or savory and is frequently served during the summer to combat the heat. This version is a variation on the tremendously popular North Indian mango lassi, using papaya and citrus for a bright and refreshing drink.
When choosing your papaya, look for light green skins with patches of yellow or pink, depending on the variety. A ripe papaya will give just the slightest bit when lightly pressed. Although green papayas make great salads, their hard flesh lacks the sweetness of ripe papaya and can be murder on your blender.
As for the yogurt, whole milk is what you'll find served in most restaurants because of its richness, but low or nonfat yogurt works quite well if you're concerned about calories. Lime and salt work together to highlight the papaya flavor. After that, it's just a quick whizz through the blender for the perfect accompaniment to the spiciest of dishes.
About the author: Christianne Winthrop is a freelance food writer, caterer and culinary instructor. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bob and their beta fish, Hercules.