Radha Bhatia’s Lassis of India – Smoothies With a Twist is a grandmother’s labour of love. The book looks at stories and recipes spanning over five generations. The author tells us about the food heritage, her love for old recipes and the changing landscape of food. Bhatia was introduced to cooking at the age of five by her grandmother. “I wanted to pass on her legacy to my own grandchildren in particular, and to the new generations in general. Amongst our vast and varied cuisine, I found lassi to be one of the most underrated and unassuming of components, despite the tremendous health benefits it had,” she says.
What started out as an idea of compiling a few recipes of traditional lassis, finally turned out into a bigger project including modern variants. Use of fresh, organic ingredients without any preservatives, artificial flavours or colours is key to a good lassi, she feels. “We should use curd that has been made at home. Also, I strongly believe that the emotions of the person preparing a dish are transferred to the dish – so when a mother or a grandmother prepares food or beverages for her children or grandchildren with love, it tastes all the more better,” she says.
Ask her about her favourite flavour, and she says, “It is difficult to pin point any one favorite, as each of them are unique and special in their own way – from the traditional mathha to the hot kheru, from the Kashmiri lassi to masala majjige each is my favourite.”
During her experimentations with different flavours, there were some that didn’t work out the way she wanted. “For example, we tried making lassi (or smoothie) with fresh tomatoes, but it didn’t taste right. So we switched to sun dried tomatoes instead, and that was delicious,” she shares.
Speaking about the culinary heritage of India, Bhatia says, “With our fast-paced lives, we are looking at quick solutions for everything, including food. There’s nothing like the taste of food that has been cooked slowly for a longer duration. Fortunately, there are few people who are working towards keeping our heritage alive.”Apart from some more writings about traditional Indian cuisine, Bhatia would also love to write inspirational stories to motivate young girls in India to come forward and be counted in every field of life.