The Food Desert Project: Frozen Pineapple Lassi or Masala Chai

The Food Desert Project: Frozen Pineapple Lassi or Masala Chai

I don't know about you, but during the summer I am all about frozen drinks. We recently hit 90 degrees in our little corner of the world...and I was NOT happy about it. Somehow, sitting back with something icy and frothy in a pretty glass makes it all better.

The challenge with Indian-style drinks in the food desert is the lack of fresh fruit and specialty spices. I've managed to solve both problems by simply doing an end-run: using canned pineapple (one of the few fruits that comes canned in its own juice) and a custom spice mix using spices you can probably buy anywhere during the holidays.

Pineapple Lassi (makes one)


1/2 cup plain yogurt (any style is fine, but we used regular lowfat yogurt)
1/3 cup canned crushed pineapple
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp sugar (raw sugar if it is available)
4-5 large ice cubes


Measure the ingredients into a blender and blend away!  Serve immediately.


Frozen Masala Chai (makes 4 drinks)


    Spice Mixture:

1 tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves (I think this is the best replacement for cardamom, an essential component in masala chai)
1/4 of a nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger


1/2 tbsp prepared spice mixture
3 tea bags
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp sugar (we used raw sugar for flavor)
4-5 ice cubes

Make the spice mixture:  measure the ingredients into a blender jar, and blend until the spices are as finely ground and well mixed as possible.

Heat a half-cup of water to just before boiling, add 3 tea bags and a half-tablespoon of the chai spice mixture.  Allow to steep until it is cool enough to touch. Strain out the spices and add the tea to your blender with the sugar, evaporated milk and ice.  Blend until the ice is fully incorporated.  Pour into two glasses and enjoy!


Filed under: Pantry cooking, Recipe

Tags: beverages, chai, chilled, lassi

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