City Food – Salt Lassi, Chandni Chowk
Lassi without sweetness.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Please concede that salted lassi is a lesser-loved cousin among yogurt drinks. You’ll seldom hear friends swearing by it.
And frankly speaking, the few places in Delhi serving salted lassi aren’t very creative about it. They’ll simply mix the yogurt with table salt (OK, kaala namak at best), and that’s that.
But then there’s a well-known yogurt hangout at the tail-end of Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk bazaar that does it differently. Just a single sip of their salted lassi sends spasms of freshness throughout the body. So very delicious.
Folks at Amritsari Lassiwalla introduced their salted edition back in 2001, and for obvious reasons are reluctant to hand out the recipe. They do reveal tantalizingly that it includes “roasted cumin, black pepper, black salt and many other spices.”
Chugging along since 1974, the hugely popular Amritsari joint is not a city secret waiting to be discovered. They have been serving lassi in a variety of flavours, like mango, rose, banana and saffron. The adjacent Meghraj also serves delicious malai lassi, thick with so much malai that the drink is served with a spoon. Meghraj also serves the far richer kesar badam lassi but it doesn’t make salted lassi. That intensifies Amritsari’s exclusivity.
The only real problem with the place is its location. Getting there means traipsing across the entire length of the maddeningly chaotic and crowded bazaar. But is definitely well worth it if you bunch the treat with other interesting errands at Chandni Chowk. If only to take in the historic bazaar’s crumbling havelis, along with numerous temples, churches and mosques, and all sorts of foods, finishing it all with the tangy spikiness of the salt lassi.
Salt, not sugary