Lassi (pronounced LAH-see) is a North Indian beverage that is created from dahi, a yogurt-like, fermented milk product. Dahi is translated as curd on the Indian subcontinent.
Mumbai-born, Punjabi-heritage Indian chef Garima Arora (born Nov. 9, 1986), who in November 2018 became the first female Indian to win a Michelin star, explains the difference between curd and yogurt. Curd is achieved by curdling milk with an edible acidic substance. A saved portion of already-made dahi may be used as a curd starter (known as jamun or khatta). Other edible acidic substances include green or red chilies, lemon juice or vinegar.
Yogurt, on the other hand, requires bacterial fermentation of milk. Yogurt's ferments, Lactobacillus delbruekii sp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, transform milk's lactose (naturally present milk sugar) into lactic acid.
Lassi calls for a blend of dahi with a liquid, such as milk, rosewater or water, or with ice cubes. The addition of salt or of sugar determines whether the beverage is typed as salty (namkeen; from namak, "salt") or as sweet. Or, lassi may be both salty and sweet via pinches of both salt and sugar.
Namkeen lassi may be prepared with black salt, white salt or both black and white salts. NDTV (New Delhi Television Ltd) food and health author Sarika Rana describes black salt (kaala namak) as an Indian volcanic rock salt with a pink-grey hue. Black salt presents a savory taste and exudes a sulphurous odor.